Eugen Jost’s pictures have titles like “Hardy’s Taxi”, “Pisa, Cambridge, Bern”, “A Walk with Mr. Euler”, “Girasole” and “Mediterranean Geometry”. Actually their style is different, but they all have a common background that one doesn’t expect behind these titles: mathematics. The paintings tell stories, they stimulate interest for mathematical results and relationships just as for the persons who were engaged in these topics. Mathematical theories and problems are not only a matter of mind, they also have an effect on sensibilities and aesthetic feelings, comparable with artistic activities. The famous British number theorist G. H. Hardy (1877 – 1947) pointed out: “A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.” Eugen Jost’s paintings convince by their diversity. They contain elementary and more complex problems, they attract kids, students and adults with and without mathematical knowledge.
Often people equate mathematics with arithmetic and focus on computational skills. But mathematics involves more than computation. The paintings of the exhibition – and in this booklet – clearly show: Mathematics is a study of patterns and relationships, a way of thinking and a science that is characterized by order and internal consistency, a language that uses carefully defined terms and symbols, a tool that helps to explain the world.
At the beginning there was a calendar for the year 2008 that combined mathematics and arts. Especially for this purpose Eugen Jost created these paintings with mathematical motifs or references to mathematics.
For further mathematical information there were explanatory texts on the backside of each calendar leaf. Meanwhile the calendar is history. It was a best-seller; two editions were sold out in a very short time. The idea, however, to get an access to mathematics with the help of the paintings is still vivid and popular.
Therefore we have created this exhibition with the digital prints. The short information, hints and questions to each of the pictures are to encourage reflection on mathematics. Have a lot of fun!