The Delectably Inventive “crystal & fruits”

Photo credit: Michael Janssen Singapore

Photo credit: Michael Janssen Singapore

While Peter Zimmermann still uses the humble brush to combine the elements of painting and sculpture, he definitely prefers applying epoxy resin for two equally paramount reasons: he really likes the way he successfully achieves very bright shiny colours and great visual depth.

And by doing so, he has ingeniously crafted a bold and clear distinction from other paintings commonly fashioned in oils and acrylic more than 20 years ago.

Based in Cologne, this German artist gets his artistic inspiration from carefully selected photographs – either from ones he had lovingly taken himself or digital images he had personally collected from the tremendous range available on the internet.

Except that Peter never paints what he sees in his favoured shots – even when most figurative paintings or photographic images he tends to come across globally today heavily lean towards the abstract.

Little wonder then that he painstakingly subjects each of his chosen image files through a multi-layered inventive process of massive modification. This he undertakes digitally until he is perfectly satisfied with the way his extensive distortions allow him to merrily explore form and space.

Then he carefully projects the colour abstraction onto a virgin white canvas in exactly the same way as we would artistically deploy the CMYK colour model used in the printing process.

Accordingly, Peter instinctively starts with a cheery yellow. That is quickly followed by a vivid magenta. Next he applies the defining blue and the final layers of richly darker colours. The resulting overlapping of multiple psychedelic layers creates new tints in vivid hues – all nicely shaped!

It is then that he can finally put down his well used brush: he has at last come as close as he gingerly can to the modified file that had birthed this artistic venture.

Yet when he imaginatively designs his monochrome paintings, Peter dances to the tune of a completely different fiddler: the crucial colour of choice is creatively decided through the painting process itself! Even then, there is still a very strong element of chance, as sometimes the definitive deciding dye only magically arises in the last 3 layers. And this seemingly uncontrollably combustive adventure excites Peter.

Given the multi-layering process and when the colours arise or are finalized, the immensely divergent complexity varies the time he takes to complete a painting. Some need only a month to get to the absolutely satisfied state.

Others require a labour of love that takes years, as many as 13 to be exact. And it can be that painfully slow as each coat of resin requires over-night drying before a new layer can be placed above the last one. And Peter often needs to diligently apply as many as 10 to 20 coatings.

The final outcome of this laborious process is delectably shiny artworks that alluringly tempt you to literally lick them. Not surprisingly, Peter had actually toyed with the novel idea of sugar coating the works of art he has created for his first solo exhibition of “crystal & fruits” in Singapore.

Fortunately, basic common sense quickly over ruled that thought: the saccharine layer would have rapidly melted into a sticky gooey mess in our tropical heat!

You have until 7 July 2013 to savour Peter’s 12 sumptuous “concoctions” at Michael Janssen Singapore, Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, #02-21, Singapore 108973.

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