Amélie Joos is a contemporary Franco-German female artist. Her work includes paintings, drawings, and also sculptures. She has held several exhibitions in France, where she now lives, but also in cities such as in Tokyo, Florence, and Berlin.
Amélie describes her style as 'Figuration of the unconscious,' with influences from Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, and German Expressionism, but also Egon Schiele, because of the line of the drawing. The line is a fundamental part of her work: she uses a thick, immediate, and expressive stroke, which ‘Has to convey the emotion of the story.’
Usually, her creative process starts from a feeling, an emotion that she tries to visualise on paper. Other times, Amélie starts with a precise subject in mind, or she simply lets her pencil go to free herself from a certain anxiety at the beginning of the work. This is a process that leads her to discard a lot of drawings, in fact her floor is full of them, which she sometimes recovers as a starting point for a new one.
Her representations include people, animals, and sometimes a combination of the two — half-wolf, half-bird species and more. They have gradually become a symbol of friendship: the loyal friend, the protector, freedom, but also purity, in contrast to human beings.
The aim of Amélie Joos’ work is to question people’s emotions and their relationship with each other: many of her drawings depict also romantic relationships between women and men, in which the men are represented in an animal form, creating a oneiric world that can be both deeply intimate and universal at the same time.
She chooses the animals she depicts mainly for their symbolism, and now that they’ve become recurring icons in her art, they’re also part of her aesthetic vocabulary. The tiny and fragile rabbit, for example, is a sign of fear, but when it’s oversized, she reverses the roles: the rabbit has mastered his fears. The bird can represent both freedom and fragility, while the wolf symbolises energy, strength, and both protection and danger.
Most of her drawings use very few colours, mainly just black and white, with sometimes a touch of red. At the beginning of her career, Amelie didn’t paint at all to distinguish herself from her mother, a painter and true colourist. But later she came to love black and white, which, although essential, can express a lot. Now she plays with shades of paper, pencil, and linseed oil, while a touch of red expresses rupture and contrast, both emotionally and visually.
Very often Amélie Joos’ illustrations are paired with writing, which also has a particular immediacy and spontaneity. The quotations are sometimes in German, the artist's mother tongue, and sometimes in French or English. The choice of the language depends on what she wants to express, because some terms change their meaning when translated, but also on the sound of the words.
Words by Asia Pedron
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