Nature, largely untouched by man, is the central theme of Bernd Zimmer, who has been working as a painter for more than four decades on motifs such as landscape, vegetation, night sky, weather phenomena and water. However, he does not strive to depict these motifs as accurately as possible, but rather to formulate them freely in the autonomous painting process.

Dr. René Hirner, text excerpt for the exhibition ALLES FLIEßT

Bernd Zimmer

  • 1948
    Born on November 6 in Planegg (near Munich). Attends school in Planegg, Lochham, and Starnberg (Bavaria, Germany).
  • 1968–70
    German champion in sailing. Apprenticeship in the publishing trade at Carl Hanser Verlag (Munich). 1969 Travels to Morocco and Spain for six weeks.
  • 1970–72
    Production assistant for graphic design at Carl Hanser Verlag.
  • 1972
    Travels across Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Burma, and Hong Kong for six months. Moves to Bremen; works in the bookstore Buchhandlung B. Wassmann.
  • 1973/74
    Moves to Berlin. Works as a book designer at the publishing house Verlag Klaus Wagenbach. Begins to study philosophy (aesthetics) and religious studies under Klaus Heinrich at the Freie Universität Berlin. Moves into a factory building in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin; Bernd Koberling has a studio in the same building. Contact with Karl Horst Hödicke and, in 1976, with his students Helmut Middendorf and Salomé.
  • 1975/76
    Four-month stay in Mexico and in the South of the United States. Fascination with the Mexican landscape and the monumental images of the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alforo Siqueiros. Continues his studies in Berlin. Begins to paint.
  • 1976–79
    Works nights as a cook at the Restaurant Exil, founded by Oswald Wiener in Berlin.
  • 1977
    Is a cofounder of the Galerie am Moritzplatz in Berlin (together with Salomé, Helmut Middendorf, and Rainer Fetting, among others); the artist-run gallery will continue to operate until 1981. Paints still lifes, interiors, pictures with skulls, and figures – as well as Berlin cityscapes. In September, travels to the Basque-Galician Atlantic coast. After returning, creates the monumental painting FLUT for his first solo exhibition, at the Galerie am Moritzplatz.
  • 1978
    From October 22 to 24, paints the three-part subway picture 1/10 Sekunde vor der Warschauer Brücke: Stadtbild 3/28 in the newly-opened Kreuzberg music venue SO 36; the painting is exhibited there in the night from October 25 to 26, to the accompaniment of Metal Machine Music and other Lou Reed concept albums. Creates additional cityscapes in addition to a series featuring alpine mountains.
  • 1979
    Drops out of studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Receives the Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff-Stipendium, which permits him to quit the various jobs with which he had supported himself. From April to September, lives and works in Kaltenberg (Geltendorf, Bavaria). Creates paintings of apple trees, fields, and chestnut blossoms there.
  • 1980
    Takes part in the exhibition “Heftige Malerei”, organized by Thomas Kempas and held at Berlin’s Haus am Waldsee (together with Fetting, Middendorf, and Salomé). In the summer months, lives and works in Zwieselstein (Ötztal valley; Tyrol, Austria), where he develops new groups of works: mountainscapes, waterfalls, and stones magnified to monumental proportions.
  • 1981
    In January and February, travels to Indonesia (Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores) for six weeks. Takes part in the exhibition “Rundschau Deutschland 1” at the Künstlerwerkstatt Lothringer Straße 13 (Munich). Solo exhibitions at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery (New York) and at the gallery of Yvon Lambert (Paris). Creates Indonesia and fire paintings.1982/83
    Six-week stay in the Dominican Republic. First museum exhibition at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands). Receives a stipend from the Villa Massimo, in Rome. Creates the series “Aus der Ferne”, “Vor Rom”, and “Mann im Mond”. Meets Nina Zeidler in Rome. In the fall, moves into an apartment near St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • 1984
    In June, moves to Polling (Bavaria, Germany), where he lives and works in a former abbey estate. Marries Nina Zeidler. Moves out of his Berlin studio. Son Vincenz is born. Creates tree and snow paintings.
  • 1985
    Develops the two groups of paintings “Vor der Stadt” and “Fichtenwald”. First woodcuts.
  • 1986
    Following a stay in the hospital, develops the concept of the “Übersicht-Bilder”, while in Polling. In the fall, extended stay in Amalfi (Italy). First seascapes.
  • 1987/88
    Finds a spacious, combined studio and apartment in the Villa Andreae in Rapallo (Italy). Creates the extensive series of seascapes here. Continues to work on the “Übersicht-Bildern” in Polling.
  • 1989
    The “Übersicht-Bilder” group of works is shown in Munich (A11 Artforum) and at the Forum Kunst Rottweil (Germany). Daughter Pola is born.
  • 1990
    Travels to India for six weeks. Impressed by Hindu philosophy, creates the work groups “Himmelbilder” and “Monatsbilder”.
  • 1991
    In summer, moves into an additional studio in Monteventano (Italy). Creates the snake paintings. The Gulf War, which breaks out at the beginning of the year, leads to the series of “Knochenbilder”.
  • 1992
    Develops the motif groups of “Flowers of Romance,” “Blühende Bäume”, “Blitz”, and “Felder” in his Monteventano studio.
  • 1993/94
    In the spring, travels to Libya. Beginning in the fall, works on large-format desertscapes. In September 1993, self-publishes the artist magazine PlantSÜDEN (together with the austrian photographer Roland Hagenberg, Tokyo). Series of the “Erdschnittbilder” and the desertscapes. In 1999, establishes an additional studio in Oberhausen (Bavaria).
  • 1995
    In January and February, travels to Polynesia, where he travels among the Marquesas Islands on a cargo ship. Beginning in the fall, works on the South Seas paintings.
  • 1996/97
    In the summer, stay in Vietri sul Mare (Italy); workes on the first terracotta sculptures there. At the end of December and beginning of January, travels to Arizona. Beginning of the valley paintings. In November 1997, travels to Beijing and Shanghai on account of his first exhibitions in China.
  • 1998
    Beginning in January, first extensive overview of his works on paper at the Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, among other places. Appointed instructor of a painting class at the International Summer Academy Salzburg. Beginning of the cosmos series. In the winter, travels to Namibia.
  • 1999
    Parallel to the cosmos topic, begins a new series of desertscapes based on his experience of the deserts of Arizona and Namibia. In the fall, travels to Egypt for the first time.
  • 2000
    First presentation of the cosmos paintings, in the Gustav-Lübcke-Museum in Hamm (Germany). Travels to the deserts of Morocco; creates the dune paintings. In the winter, travels to Upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan).
  • 2001/02
    Catalogue raisonné of the woodcuts published by Georg Reinhardt. The first survey of this body of work is shown in Leverkusen (Germany). Continues to work on the desertscapes and cosmos pictures.
  • 2003
    Doubts about continuing work on the cosmos series lead to the decision to once again direct his attention to the visible landscape as subject matter. Travels to Karelia, in northern Russia. Creates the group of works “Russische Landung”. In addition, further cosmos pictures with horizon line (early and mid-summer). In the fall, travels to Syria (particularly Aleppo), to visit the Early Christian churches and the desert cities of the Romans.
  • 2004
    In the spring, once again travels to northeastern Thailand, near the border to Laos. First exhibition of the Russia paintings, in Basel. Continues work on the cosmos series. In the summer, travels to the volcanoes of Iceland’s desert-like interior.
  • 2005
    Creates the large Polling linocut ZeitSchnitt, which is cut directly into an old section of flooring and will subsequently be exhibited in the Fischerbau (Polling). Work on the pictorial cycle “Genesis.” Initial preparatory work related to the picture for the Mainz Cathedral; in 2006, the painting will be installed and consecrated in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Creates the large-format woodcut cycle “Lema sabachtani: 14 Stationen des Kreuzwegs”.
  • 2006
    The “Lema sabachtani” stations of the cross are shown in a series of Berlin subway stations reaching from Kochstraße to Friedrichstraße and in Berlin’s Nikolaikirche. First trips to Brandenburg; fascinated by the beauty and the wildness of the nature found there. In the winter, once again travels to Morocco. First comprehensive exhibition of the cosmos works in the Kunsthalle Mannheim (Germany).
  • 2007
    Decides to establish a studio in Warthe (Brandenburg, Germany), located on the shores of a lake near Boitzenburg. Watching the reflections of pristine nature on the still waters of the lakes leads to the reflection paintings.
  • 2008/09
    Repeatedly stays in Warthe for periods of several weeks. In 2009, the Galerie Karl Pfefferle (Munich) shows the reflection works for the first time. In the summer, the paintings created in Warthe are exhibited in Potsdam (Brandenburg, Germany). Continues to work on the reflection series.
  • 2010
    Extended stays spent working in Italy and Warthe. In the fall, three-week journey through rural areas of China (Urumqi, Yunnan, Guangxi). Intensive exploration of Chinese painting and Chinese park and garden design. Creates the first China paintings, which establish a dialogue with Chinese art.
  • 2011
    In the Spring, travels to Vietnam and Cambodia. Creates the book WALD SPIEGEL WASSER, featuring 72 original woodcuts; the dust jacket also consists of a polychrome woodcut. Increasingly works on topics related to his travels in Asia: streams, waterfalls, and green images of nature that recall jungle-like and tropical climates. Continues to work on the reflection paintings.
  • 2012
    In May, the reflection and jungle paintings are shown for the first time in a larger, museological context, in the Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst (Augsburg, Germany)
  • 2013
    Travels to Chile for a couple of month in particular throughout Atacama desert and Patagonia. The second volume of the Catalogue raisonné of the woodcuts (2001-2012) published by Anuschka Koos at Wienand Verlag.