Peter Zimmermann at Hallmark Art Collection

Apr 25, 2018 2:36AM

Peter Zimmermann creating his latest work in length of 14 meters. (Source: Peter Zimmermann Studio)

With works having been displayed in Moscow (2007), Liverpool (1999) and Venice Biennial (2003) and widely collected by world-class art institutions, Peter Zimmermann has had his audiences moved by the crystal-clear hues and the elegant lines in his abstract works. After Center Pompidou, Paris, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Prada collection, Hallmark Art Collection is now expecting a new work of Zimmermann to enrich their contemporary art collection. For this commissioned project, a whole new piece of Zimmermann’s famous epoxy installation in length of 14 meters is currently in the making process.Noted for being the biggest greeting card company in the world, Hallmark is also recognized for its art collection with a long history of over sixty years. Under the leadership of its founder, J.C Hall (1891-1982), Hallmark Art Collection had acquired significant pieces by modern artists such as Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, and Andrew Wyeth in the 50s. Other commissioned works were made by the famous contemporary artist, including Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell, and Saul Steinberg. Over the years, the collection has grown under the supervision of Curator Joe Houston. With all the works collected and displayed coming from the most prominent figures of the era, this collaboration definitely marks another milestone in Zimmermann’s artistic career.

Peter Zimmermann〈Era〉, 2011, epoxy resin on canvas, 160 x 100 cm

The artistic methodology of Peter Zimmermann’s artworks plays a complex role of post-digital aesthetics in painting today. A technologically forward-thinking artist, who continuously approaches painting from a theoretical standpoint and contemplates what defines painting today, Zimmermann picks up on the logic of twenty-first-century digital visual thinking: If I would have lived 100 years before, I would paint landscape, but now in our times, everything you know about the world, you know either from television screens or on computer screens. That’s how the world gets into your brain. This straightforward logic of what is to be painted provides insight to Zimmermann’s free-wheeling and clear approach. More than a decade ago, when the recent term “post internet art” was not yet coined, Zimmermann was working with emergent technologies that allowed him to edit images and to determine the composition and abstraction of his paintings. For this particular process, he has been utilizing the tools of new media art, but not necessarily practicing new media art. Rather, he is reinventing the medium of painting in his own terms, finding a new way of looking at this traditional practice. In this exhibition he proposes to not only look at a painting, but to actually be part of it.

Peter Zimmermann〈Linden〉, 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 110 cm

Throughout modern and contemporary art history, the traditional understanding of painting has shifted; becoming more process-related, more sculptural and site-aware. In the exhibition, Zimmermann radically transforms the museum space into a single work in which the floor becomes a canvas and the exhibition ground turns into a massive spatial painting. The large-scale floor piece, created in situ for the exhibition is not only a painting, but a room installation one can walk through. In order to experience the exhibition in its entirety, the audience is not only asked to look at the painting, but to be an embodied part of it. Simple actions like walking, sitting and standing implicate viewers as integral components in the experience of the work. The epicenter of the exhibition is the confrontation of two distinct bodies of work. One monumental floor piece, created in situ for the museum’s space, and a series of recent wall-based oil paintings will be exhibited together for the first time in such a constellation. The wall paintings depend on a similar process in creation of their formal compositions, but require different techniques and material. Regardless the difference in material (oil paint / epoxy resin), the abstract shapes in the paintings are composed in a way that the technological background process can be subtly understood. In both cases, Zimmermann uses image software techniques to manipulate and play with personal or anonymous images from his visual archive. These initial digital images are either found online or scanned and printed material. At the end of the artistic procedure, they have new shapes as they blur and create new fluid forms. There is something curious and magical about this process of creating compositions. The method of abstraction is a pure function of the software, but the degree of abstraction and the image selection are the artist’s own careful decision; a painstaking yet conversational collaboration between painter and computer. The artistic process is closely linked to the context of the work.