messenjaschin : Curriculum Vitae

Youri Messen-Jaschin

His artistic studies brought him to the “Ecole Supérieur Nationale des Beaux-Arts”. He was a pupil of professor and master Robert Cami and also attended the Hautes Études of the Sorbonne University, which included, History of Art, with professor Pierre Francastel from the Ecole Pratique, in Paris.

From 1962 to 1965 he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, where he worked with the engraver and painter Ernest Pizzotti. He debuted his creations at the Lausanne EXPO, in 1964 (Swiss fair), where he presented his kinetic sculptures of glass and acrylic resin.

Youri was searching for new forms of art. He worked two years in “The Center of Contemporary Engraving” in Geneva. But it was in Zurich that he expanded his pictorial perspective with the experience of the circle above the face, influenced by the Swiss painter Friederick Kuhn.

From 1968 to 1970, he studied at the University of Högskolan for design & Konsthantwerk of Gothenburg, where he made kinetic objects of textiles. In 1967, he met Jesús-Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Julio Le Parc during an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum of Gothenburg. By speaking with these artists, he became fascinated by optical art. He then decided to dedicate more and more of his time researching kinetic art. Youri’s investigations and research with op art had a lot repercussion in Scandinavia, which was very avant-garde. It was there that he had the opportunity to exhibit his work in various museums.

In 1968, Youri received First Prize in Swiss Contemporary Art of Engraving. On the same year, he was granted a Scholarship from the Swedish Government.

In 1970, he created a kinetic sculpture for the American company Gould, at Heistetten, in Germany. He also had the privilege to sell his Pop Art style single tapestry "More Light" to Musée of Contemporary Art, in Zurich. This unique piece was conceived when he lived in New York and met the Pop Art artists - Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and Jasper Johns. He was enthusiastic and fascinated by the possibilities of colors in this style of art.

This tapestry was woven during the Seventies in his work-studio at Zollikofen, in Switzerland. This tapestry is part of the collection of Migros Vaud, in Switzerland.

After spending a long period in New York, Youri returned to Switzerland and settled in Bern, where he lived for eleven years. During that time he held many exhibitions at the Kunsthalle and also in other museums in the area. There were many museums interested in his work, such as the Kunsthaus of Zurich, Ecole Polytechnique, Federal of Zurich, and the Cabinet of Prints, of Geneva.

The Museum Royal des Beaux Art, in Brussels, Stedelijk Museet Amsterdam, and private collectors from the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe have also added Youri’s kinetic works to their collections.

His creations were also very well received in Venezuela where he resided for a few years. The Foundation Mendoza and Yonekura Industrial gave him the financial support he needed to pursue and expand his research. Youri designed stage sets at the Sala of Conciertos del Ateneo and Teatro Ana Julia Rojas del Ateneo in Caracas, where he was well received. He was invited, on several occasions, to set up the theater and to produce his own writings.

His various experiences abroad enabled him to form a bond with artists from many parts of the world, who also were part of the same artistic movement. He was invited to present his theater performance art in various venues: VI Festival Internacional de Teatro, Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, Association Cultural Humboldt (Goethe Institute) and the Alliance Française.

Architecture plays a significant role in Youri’s painting and sculptures. In the vocabulary of the Op Art movement (kinetic art,) the architectural space is everything. He also exchanged ideas about his research with Oscar Niemeyer and Burle Marx, in Rio de Janeiro, Ruy Ōtake in São Paulo, Brazil, and Clorindo Testa, in Buenos Aires.

In 1985, he received the first world prize of culture Premio Mondiale della Cultura statua della Vittoria from the Central Studi e Ricerche delle Nazioni, in Calvatone, Italy. At the same time, he became an Academician of Europe by the Università E Centro Studi e Ricerche of Europa, in Italy.

Youri has participated in many international exhibitions and has received prizes for research in optical art, in Italy. His work is shown in many specific and collective exhibitions and his works are also part of private collections and national and international museums.

From 2004 to 2005, he stayed for several months in Sydney. He got familiar with the cliffs of the Pacific to experiment putting them in movement in its optical work. His art, which has been in exhibitions around the world in many individual and collective exhibitions, is now part of private collections and national and international museums. Youri Messen-Jaschin is an excellent representative of European culture.

Youri is also a specialist in “body art painting”. He often exhibits his work in clubs where he used UV lamps. Usually takes 4 hours for him to paint an entire body with psychedelic colors and biologic paint, which does not damage the skin. The body looks like is wearing a very tight outfit, says Youri. The young woman excited by the techno-music, that he usually plays on the background, all want to be transformed.


Youri’s sculptures are enriched by the movement, placed in the environment (the movement of space), supplemented by sounds of concrete music (the movement then starts with the sounds). His first research with the sounds dates from the end of the Sixties. The sculptures are enriched by the movement, placed in the environment (the movement of space), and completed by music sounds concrete (movement starts the sounds). The first researches with sound and movement combined together dates from the end of the 60s. Already in the 70s, Youri integrates the neon into his optical art, which he continues even to use today in his sculptures, his installations, and also in his oil paintings. He often uses the technique of combining oils and gouaches. His favourite colors are: strong reds, yellows, greens, and nuances of blue, luminous colors. His method, empirical, creates new perceptions of the colors and visual effects particularly striking. The geometrical forms such as the square, the triangle or the circle develop gradually without losing their original identity. What makes Youri Messen-Jaschin part of this movement is how he uses the color as meaning of communication which puts the artist among the kinetic architects of space.


Works represented in museums, foundations

* 1960 Bibliothèque Cantonale de Lausanne, Switzerland * 1960 Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands * 1967-1968 Centre de Gravure contemporaine Geneva * 1967-1968 Cabinet des Estampes Geneva * 1969 Röhsska Museet Göteborg, Sweden * 1971 Gould corporation Eistetten Germany * 1973 Musée des Beaux-Arts/Cabinet of prints/ Le Locle, Switzerland * 1974 EPFZ (Federal Polytechnic School Zurich) dept. cabinet of Prints Zurich * 1974 Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse (Dept. Prints) Berne * 1974 Kunsthaus Zurich * 1976 Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Fribourg (dept. Prints), Switzerland * 1976 Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Albert 1er/Cabinet Prints Bruxelle, Belgium * 1978-1998 Musée d'Art Contemporain Montréal, Canada * 1979 Foundation Philip Morris New York, U.S. * 1983 Fundación Mendoza Caracas, Venezuela * 1983 Fundación Interalumin Ciudad Guyana, Venezuela; * 1996 Donation from Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund the tapestry « More light » to Migros Vaud, Ecublens Switzerland * 1998 Orensanz Foundation/Center for the Arts New York USA * 2002 Paper Museum Kochi-Ken, Japan * 2007 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.