Why Din A5?

Since more than 10 years most of my work is sized close to the German standard Din A5 (148 mm × 210 mm or 5 5⁄6 in × 8 1⁄4 in). Concerning the exact size of my work, i’m not very dogmatic, although i appreciate the achievement in accuracy by the DIN (German Institute for Standardization). It’s time to write some words about the reasons behind.

A bit more unusual than its omnipresent brother A4 but still highly available, Din A5 appears, at least in the western european’s everyday life, mostly as a size for exercice books, pocket calendars and general-purpose notebooks. But for me, it also became a cornerstone of my artistic work.

The first role it played in my life was that of a bearer for my notes and sketches. Sometimes during my second or third year at art school, i took the plan to organize a vernissage in my friends flat in the very evening. Because the flat wasn’t that roomy, i produced a lot of A5 sized works for this occasion within a a few hours. The first numbers of my ongoing series of similar-sized works were created. At the same time, i worked most of the time at life-sized paintings and room filling installation art, but realized soon, that i liked the concentration on a specific, standardized size. I didn’t felt it being a constraint to limit myself that way, but more of a challenge to do everything i want to express within those small boundaries. I actually do not feel that i limit myself in any way, as i continue trying new sizes and techniques, but always return to A5…

I think the small size supports immediate artistic expression, which is of high importance to me. It gives me room for experiments, i can create new things as fast as i can discard them, without the necessity to spend much resources. No questions in my mind concerning the size before i do the first stroke, it’s readily available, portable and doesn’t need a big studio. It relativizes questions about the difference between a sketch and the “opus magnus”, which occupied my mind for a long time. Way to often i consider other artist’s sketches much more interesting to me than their well-known works. It’s also very convenient to store and archive my work in an economical way. There’s a kind of intimate notion behind it, too. Like a diary, most of my work is stored in binders at the shelf. From time to time, i draw one binder and remember the very moment i created the works within. Or, if guests ask notorious questions about “what kind of art i do”, i just give them a random one. Like Carl Spitzweg’s cactus friend, i’m quiet happy within my self-made boundaries and try to create my own private universe. In a way, i also try to create my own “collector’s items” for the sake of curating a curious and diversified collection of art. If i sell or donate an item, i replace it with a copy.