The saying is that good wine needs no bush. You can also exaggerate it, because Ossip is short of himself and his work when he says he never really works. In other words: Ossip works on intuition, something works or something does not work. His work is therefore very personal and one in a million. He considers himself "rather as a kind of medium, where everything happens under my hands. It's like sorcery”. The title of the exhibition, Magus, also seems to refer to this. As is often the case with Ossip, the title evokes wonder, because Magus is a word compiled by Ossip himself.
The smallest works are presented in the back of the gallery. They are not much larger than 20 by 20 cm. Slightly alienating, humorous- one of the works is even based on a picture of Magrittes La trahison des images (better known as: ceci n'est pas une pipe) - sometimes sort of morbid.
Ossip calls these small works his 'one-minute pieces'. He makes them in a jiffy, but in a jiffy that is the result of watching and making decades. Sometimes his eye sticks to an image and he instinctively understands what the image requires of him. For example, Ossip cut out a few legs on a newspaper photo for half of them, leaving them out of the flat surface and creating an exciting image right away.
As said, Ossip works intuitively, so that changes take place very gradually. However, anyone who is familiar with his oeuvre will immediately see the changes to his previous exhibition with Magus. But to indicate how far-reaching Ossips work has changed, three collages from the early 80s are presented in the entrance. Each work consists of tight monochrome surfaces with one or two surfaces beneath them, in which very small pieces of dictionaries and encyclopaedias are teeming. The collages are perfectly finished.
Just like the one-minute pieces, the other works by Magus consist of photography edited by Ossip. He dives up his source material in thrift stores and on book markets. The photographs often come from forgotten medical handbooks and auction catalogs. The images are almost always documentary and therefore not made for aesthetic reasons. The persons depicted are unrecognizable and have already passed away for a long time. What you clearly see is that the photos come from a different time. Not only the images used, but also the way in which Ossip processes them, you could call artisanal. Forget Photoshop or other photo editing software; the most modern tool that Ossip uses is a copier machine, he does the rest with a pair of scissors and a jigsaw. Ossip therefore makes no effort to conceal the cuts and to eliminate the glue stains once the work has been completed. He does not think this is important: the beauty is in his work and not in the finish.
Master of the unfinished
You can also see that in the numerous medium-sized works that, just like in Ossip's atelier, are in large racks. The extent to which Ossip has perfected this technique is evident from the recent larger works such as Schloss (2016) en Room (2018). For this, the artist enlarged a picture of a chair and a cupboard and cut them into pieces. He placed these pieces on rods that were characteristic of him, with which he not only brought the inanimate objects to life, but also gave them an exciting and somewhat morbid charge.
It is precisely with this unfinished nature of his work that Ossip takes a stand against the art world in which only "slick works" that seem to exist now have to plea. At the same time, it makes his work, which consists of documentary images of anonymous people from a gray past, very personal and recognizable.