Lively, erotic, grotesque: the works on paper shown in the exhibition "Karel Appel – Tête en carton. Collages from 1960 to 1967" evoke the most varied associations. With their expressive colors, moving lines and open compositions, Appel’s collages capture the viewers’ imagination and give them the impression of encountering the action directly. While in cubism it was as a stylistic device of fragmentation, a dismantling of a previously intact whole, Appel’s collages instead create a symbiotic whole: spaces where faces, bodies, and scenes appear. In this way the artist blurs the boundaries between bodies and forms, dissolves them, and in an amusing manner reduces them to absurdity. Human-like creatures with beaks or bulbous phallic noses frolic between abstract forms and Dionysian body parts. Poster scraps piled up to form mounds are accompanied by colored balls of crayon and acrylic; magazine pictures of preppy school girls mix with young ladies from the glittering world of advertising. In technical terms Appel realises his images using ripped cardboard, gouache, acrylic paint or tinfoil paper. His emphasis on displaying materials is not only a basis for haptic enjoyment, but also aims at an appreciation of the physical effort involved in making the work. Appel “is the epitome of a painter who works with his whole body”. 
As co-founder of the artists’ group COBRA Karel Appel (1921–2006) is one of the most important Dutch artists and one of the innovators of art after 1945. He was inspired on the one hand by primitive art and children’s drawings, and on the other by contemporaries such as Jean Dubuffet, the central figure of Art Brut. Although Appel is known first and foremost for his painting, he created numerous works on paper, reliefs, and sculptures and engaged intensively with design.
Galerie Jahn und Jahn continues the tradition of Galerie Fred Jahn, whose focus has always been on works on paper. A particular highlight of this show is the illumination of a medium which has rarely been the focus of previous presentations of Appel’s work and as such allows this internationally recognised artist to be rediscovered.
Text: Felicitas Kirgis
 Exhibition catalog Karel Appel. Works on Paper, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich 2015, p. 11