Peter Zimmermann, Untitled, 2015, epoxy on canvas, 78 3/4 × 118 1/8".

Peter Zimmermann, Untitled, 2015, epoxy on canvas, 78 3/4 × 118 1/8".

Peter Zimmermann

Dirimart | Nişantaşı

Peter Zimmermann, Untitled, 2015, epoxy on canvas, 78 3/4 × 118 1/8".

With their shiny, abstract presence, the seven paintings in Peter Zimmermann’s show “CMYK” brought a sense of light-headedness to the viewer. The title referred to the technical process of color printing, whereby layered colors yield a final product, and also oriented the viewer to Zimmermann’s method. Made using epoxy on canvas, a technique particular to his practice, these large-scale works, with their big patches of color juxtaposed or blended into each other, have a considerable effect on the space in which they are installed: They affect the lighting of the room as well as the mood of the viewer. Sharing space with the paintings is almost like being in a clean place where everything is in a state of flux.

Zimmermann’s paintings are ultimately about a state of mind that is free-floating and open to suggestion. Most of his works are untitled, and even those pieces whose titles suggest some minimal reference, such as Patch, 2015; Seven 21, 2011; or arc, 2014, do not address a specifically recognizable object or moment in time. It seems the artist chooses to indulge in an area of the human psyche or an intuitive emotional presence that cannot be fully communicated. Although it does have a basic form, a framework (the canvas), what happens within that framework is unclear, and purposefully so.

Even though his production technique remains the same, each work is a unique instance that can never be replicated—the flow of epoxy is not fully controllable; lighting varies. Also, on close examination, one can see that the borders and blendings of color are not without flaws. All these aspects contribute to a sense of flux, an indeterminacy that permeates the paintings. Each piece can be evaluated as a different, albeit nonspecific, zone of mental and emotional reflection.

It is axiomatic that artworks sustain diverse meanings depending on the various settings, cultures, and processes they are exposed to or subsumed by. The technical quality of Zimmermann’s work is in accordance not just with a variety of questions particular to the German context in which his work emerged—most obviously Gerhard Richter’s interrogation of the relation between painted and printed images—but also with such idiosyncratic factors as the nature of the lighting and materials used in the artist’s atelier. Zimmermann’s material, epoxy, provides the viewer with as much flexibility as the artist has over its color, shine, and shadow. It is no surprise that the accompanying exhibition catalogue cannot communicate the color quality of the works; his paintings resist the kind of control offered by color printing processes. Less expected may be the realization that the placement of the works in the room could have as much impact on the space as would a three-dimensional installation.

Zimmermann has reaffirmed the longevity of the medium of painting. Using traditional canvas with contemporary epoxy, continuing to engage painters’ centuries-long interest in light and material experimentation, he has produced works whose implications should continue to unfold through time and changing contexts.

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