In the last decade of his life, the forms of Asger Jorn’s paintings became more lyrical and flexible, while his colours ran ever more liberally than before. A major work from this late period, its poetic title evoking its fluidity and freedom, Die Windsbraut (1972) is marked by a surge of vivid colour, a riot of cerulean blues and citrus yellows intermingling over its surface. Often using Japanese calligraphy brushes to apply his paint, in this work the artist visibly delights in the physicality of mark-making: paint spatters and flows, sketched lightly in places, and dragged across the canvas in others. The forms are undefined, shifting and changing as if emerging into being, coming together into potential figures and then just as quickly disassociating again. There is no decodable narrative, but something is going on; something is in the making.
Jean Dubuffet, commenting on the role of chance in Jorn’s work, remarked that the artist ‘excelled at producing meaning during the course of creation, being careful not to intervene too much, so as not to lose anything of the spontaneous, vital flow. He liked to keep “meaning” speculative. He was in love with the irrational which, in all his works, he continually faced’ (J. Dubuffet, quoted in G. Atkins, Asger Jorn: The Final Years 1965-1973, London 1977, p. 15). Jorn’s driving aesthetic principle linked visual art to the unknown, to the ambiguous and the irrational, setting it apart from reason and science. Rebelling against the power which words have over meaning and content, the artist sought to make images which would spark numerous interpretations, capturing the ‘small hidden world that words cannot express’ (A. Jorn, quoted in In the Beginning was the Image. Asger Jorn in the Canica Art Collection, exh. cat., Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, 2016, p.14). In Die Windsbraut, Jorn creates an image which continues to surprise and fascinate even after an explanation has been given, making room for shifting, provisional and nonverbal meanings.