Peter Zimmermann: From 1980 to present

Feb 21, 2018 3:52AM

The following article will introduce the four stages of Peter Zimmermann's paingting from 1980 to present.

00558 Ornament der Masse (2004), epoxy rasin on canvas, 27.5x17.7inches

01149 Reisefuhrer (Polyglott) (1991) , epoxy rasin on canvas, 31.5x18.9inches

Book Cover Painting

"Book Cover Painting" is one of Peter Zimmermann’s earliest classic series. In the late 1980s, Zimmermann started to choose the cover of common guide book, encyclopedia and art dissertation as a basic image and use epoxy resins as the main material with hand-made techniques to harmonize the shape and color of the resins, on the canvas. Due to the original characteristic of epoxy resin, viewers are easy to focus on the smooth and translucent surface effect. The way Zimmermann did makes the works exude an ambiguous industrial atmosphere, even hard to find the clues of artist’s hand-made imprints. However, it is not merely for the reason of pursuing the ultimate perfection and flawless. Even the final work has a similar appearance with the original cover, the context inside has already been moved out, transforming into a symbolic abstract sign. Thus, there will be a continuously pulling and dragging between its natural quality and present meaning. Travel guides and encyclopedias are the main sources of knowledge providing in our daily life; as a result, we construct the unknown world by reading them. Zimmermann tried to stimulate the discussion between “epistemology” and “Ontology” and his works raise a question to people: Whether the theory of knowledge on guide book or the landscape/object itself shapes the “visiting experience”?

01224 Untitled (2009), epoxy resin and spray on canvas, 23x15.7inches

01871 Drop14 (2013) , epoxy resin on canvas, 59x43.3inches

Epoxy Abstract Painting

After the 90’s, Peter Zimmermann embarks a series of experiment by creating unpredictable pattern from old photos with computer software. Trying to approach the concept of “deindividuation” and ”atypical” , the artwork itself shows the influence from Richter, but Peter Zimmerman push it further to a more objective way by involving technology in the creation process, and to free himself from the position as a creator .

If you thought Peter Zimmermann had completely abandoned the learning of painting to wholly embrace digital technique, you would be surprised since all of the shiny pattern,perfect curve,and complex layers are artificially made by the artist’s extraordinary handcrafted skill. The artistic process is Zimmermann’s response to contemporary media scene. As Andrea Madesta, the director of Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten had once said,”

we are not essentially dealing with an oppositional attitude to digital processes inspired by handcrafted expertise in the case of this artistic process.On the contrary: the application of the purely handcrafted technique and industrial high-tech processes in Peter Zimmerman's art ultimately to a new hybrid aesthetic. "

Installation views of "Freiburg School (2016)" in Museum für Neue Kunst

Installation views of "Gravity (2011)" in Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany


Currents was created in the project under the collaboration between Peter Zimmermann and Columbia Museum of art. It was also Peter Zimmermann’s initial practice of installation after utilising epoxy as a way of creation for several years. After that, Peter started to create series of installation in different space.

The series of artworks are no longer hanging on the wall, but fill up the whole room. If a person stands inside the room, he will find himself overwhelmed by dream-like reflection of lights.Through this ritual, every participants were combined in the artwork, creating a platform for audience to communicate with the art piece.

Functionally, epoxy is the material for floor construction. However, it became an artwork under the situation created by the artist. The intention is to point out the fact that the idea of identity could be fluid instead of being stable.Same objects might be labeled on different tags depends on the perspective. The concept resonates with the book cover series, while bringing people a more breathtaking sensational experience.

01988 spring2 (2014), oil on canvas, 59x43.3inches

02149 Untitled (2016), oil on canvas, 39.4x31.5inchs

Oil Painting

After more than two decades devoting to epoxy abstract painting, Zimmermann decided to pick up the paint and brush, creating a new series of oil painting. Compared to his smooth, water-like lines in epoxy works, brushstrokes in oil painting on the other hand are clearly visible. If we try to see this through a more sensitive lens, we can feel the restless and vibrant motions at the same time. Colors overlap and interlace beyond each other, without an obvious distinction. Compared to the epoxy resin piece, the oil painting has a completely different visual grammar. Even so, that two grammar share the same motif with each other. The artist used computer software to transform the original photographs to abstract images randomly with bold vibrant colors. In the exhibition “Freiburg School”, which is hold by the Museum für neue Kunst Freiburg in German, Zimmermann created a giant, floor-sized painting (about 425 square meters). The strong texture of the oil painting could be seen through the floor reflection, and the footprints scratches left by people coincided with the great embraced strokes on works. The exhibition achieved a genuinely interesting landscape as well as challenged viewer’s limit to read / participate in art.