To accompany Bernd Zimmer’s soon to open “TIKIMANIA” exhibition at the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Galerie Jahn / Pfefferle is showing a representative selection of the artist's works from the last 25 years. Under the title “TERRANAUT”, which can be understood as a deliberate distinction from the term “astronaut”, thus clearly looking at the exploration of our own planet, as well as associatively referring to a series of novels from around 1980 that were aimed at preventing the destruction of our own world, this exhibition of works focuses on the depiction of deeply felt impressions of nature and Bernd Zimmer's associated world travels through painting, which led to the idea of “STOA 169”.
The desert regions of Libya and Namibia, the rock formations of the canyons in Arizona and the mysterious world of the South Seas are just some of the destinations that Zimmer, one of the main representatives of the “Junge Wilde” (New Fauves), has travelled extensively over the past years and decades. His aim was to rediscover himself, to broaden his horizons and to emerge as a human being among human beings through the inspiration and stimuli of universal cultural experiences and views of life. And yet the image of human beings does not appear in Zimmer's works in this way. On the contrary, it is rather compressed and preserved sensory experiences of landscapes, nature and cultural testimonies, which only become condensed into images bordering between abstraction and representationalism after his return.
With a reduced formal language and intense, contrasting colorfulness, he creates worlds of images with a gestural brushstroke that deny any kind of documentary nature and instead celebrate painting in its own right: sensual spaces of experience composed of impressions and sensations. Initiated and yet at the same time detached from the supposed original subject, Zimmer's paintings become holistic, emotionally charged depictions of world experience. The expressive colourfulness that is found, for example, in the yellow and red of his South Sea pictures is not only an elementarily filtered expression of the intense light conditions prevailing there, but, according to Zimmer, can also provide an associative reference to the nuclear weapon tests carried out by the French in this region between the mid-1960s and 1990s. This creates a contrast between the beauty of paradise and its threatened destruction by man intrinsic to the painting. The desert pictures are unlimited colour spaces that express the vastness and freedom of this barren nature that has hardly been touched by man. In a similar way, the early morning light of a day breaking over the Indian landscape bears witness to the meditative calm before the soon to set in busy activity of people. Zimmer focuses again and again on retreats marked by silence and contemplation. Mountain and forest landscapes, which reflect the often rough and monumental beauty of nature in an abstract and elementary way, as well as his mysterious cosmic pictorial worlds. In the works entitled “Reflexion” (Reflection), in which towering trees are reflected in water as dynamic vertical structures in an artistically free interpretation, the matter and its reflection become a colour composition determined by yellow and green tones, in which the opposites of being and appearance dissolve into one pictorial unit.
Bernd Zimmer's lasting impressions of a trip to India almost 30 years ago, during which he visited Hindu temples and their porticoes, richly decorated with reliefs of mythological events and the lust and suffering of life, sparked in him a long-cherished wish that matured over the years: the idea of “STOA 169”, a project whose name refers to the famous school of philosophy of classical antiquity as well as to the eponymous name in architecture for a hall supported by columns, which is to be sustained by over 100 towering elements by Zimmer. A hall for art and global international understanding free of any ideology is going to be built on a natural open space in Polling an der Ammer, the home of Bernd Zimmer, in two construction phases starting in spring 2020. Selected artists from all parts and regions of the world have created individually designed columns for this, which together support the hall’s roof, in the idea of a spanning sky, and create a place of muse and inspiration in the midst of nature. Zimmer's project, in which world-class international will enter into dialogue with new positions, is a cross-border and important appeal to the global community to literally shoulder the burdens and challenges of life and to stand up for one another together beyond cultural differences.
Dr. Veit Ziegelmaier