Jörg F. Zimmermann
"Farben des Lichts - Fine Glass Arts by Jörg F. Zimmermann"
To me, glass isn't just a structured form or surface. I find its transparency, its interior space more important. But above all, it is light that really brings my creations to life.Jörg F. Zimmermann
The 1960s saw the start of a new global movement, when glass was used as a medium in the liberal arts for the first time. For the artistic glassmakers of the "studio glass movement", as it is known, the focus is on the individual, often experimental production of unique objects, including sculptures and stained glass. The medium of glass is emancipated from its functional purpose and used to create works of art.
Jörg F. Zimmermann is an advocate of this movement. But as a result of his training and professional experience, he feels equally at home in all areas of glassmaking, glass processing and glass design. Uhingen in Baden-Wuerttemberg, where he was born in 1940 and now lives again, is a town steeped in glassmaking tradition. Zimmermann began his training in a workshop in 1956. He then attended art college in Schwäbisch Gmünd, before taking a glassmaking internship and learning the theoretical side of the trade. From 1963 to 1967, he studied at the University of Design in Schwäbisch Gmünd, in the Department of Glass and Design. In 1968, Zimmermann began working as an industrial designer in Germany and abroad. In addition to creating glass designs, he was also concerned with product development, technology, tools and manufacturing processes.
In 1972, he began focusing less on the functional side, choosing to become a freelance artist and experimenting with developing his own repertoire of glass sculptures. In 1976, Zimmermann obtained his PhD at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, where he still teaches glass design as an honorary professor. He also began teaching glass furnace skills in 1983. Jörg F. Zimmermann can look back on many exhibitions. His work can be found in various museums and collections around the world and has won numerous prestigious awards, such as the Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavarian State Prizes.
Zimmermann sees glass as a mouldable material. He makes use of the slow process between melting point and amorphous hardening and, in many separate stages, creates rounded, softly contoured sculptures that also retain their flowing, movable and changeable aspect after setting. For his honeycomb objects, he uses wire mesh, through which he blows the glass mass to create stretched, comb-like and flowing perforations, porous cells and relief structures on the inside walls. During the expansion process, viscous glass threads and strands are formed, which hold together the structure like tendons on the inside. Through overlaps, undercuts, reflection and refraction, complex and spatially elusive interior structures are created. The subtle, continuously transparent colouring is created by applying metal oxides and salts onto the wire mesh, which are swept along by the viscous glass mass during the blowing process, marking their trail with permanent streaks of colour. Through repeated reheating, melting on glass layers and externally altering the shape, Zimmermann creates an infinite diversity of form and colour. The fascinating interior of these glass creations evokes images of nature: honeycombs, plant structures, microscopic sections, or even an endoscopic view inside our own organs. Zimmermann's structures never set into static patterns. Instead, they build up into a concentrated mass before dissolving again.
The physical forms enveloped by a soft and smooth outer skin are also reminiscent of living organisms, bringing to mind molluscs, sea anemones or jellyfish that are constantly changing shape in fluid movements.
At the other end of the spectrum, Zimmermann creates works whose protective shell he intentionally breaches with a diamond saw to reveal their interior. Sharp, fragile edges strongly emphasise the hardness and brittleness of the glass. "Injuries" is what Zimmermann calls these pieces, which offer a visual interpretation of the word while also suggesting real danger with their razor-sharp edges and aggressive, jagged spikes.
Zimmermann aims to achieve a similarly exciting contrast by combining rounded glass bodies with sharp-edged, intersecting metal plates or frames. The glass-grid pictures are neither sculpture nor mural, but somewhere in between. A wire mesh forms the basic structure onto which the glass mass is applied (almost randomly) in the furnace. When heated intermittently, the glass mass becomes softer, sinking through the mesh as a viscous mass and solidifying into drawn-out glass drops pressed closely together on the turned glass grid. Or the resulting mounds are fully or partially levelled off to form a thick layer of glass with a net-like structure around the grid's centre. Even when these works are fitted into a square metal frame, as they often are, they still have a spatial effect, not just because of the strength and shape of the glass mass but also because the wire mesh bends and curls under the pressure of the glass. The glass-grid pictures obtain their vigour through the interplay between density and transparency, linear and sculpted structures, mass and emptiness.
For the other relief work – footprints, hands – Zimmermann uses a sand casting technique, such as the one used for metal, or he melts glass fragments on a plate. He continues to find new approaches and methods for forming hot glass and using it in artistic ways.Recorded by Marlene Jochem
From October 29 to January 17th 2016.
All exhibitions at a glance
The Magic of the Moment:70 Years of Sports Photography by Magnum /en/art/exhibitions/the-magic-of-the-moment-70-years-of-sports-photography-by-magnum/
Per aspera ad astrathrough hardships to the stars /en/art/exhibitions/per-aspera-ad-astra-through-hardships-to-the-stars/
Jimmy Nelson“Before they pass away“ /en/art/exhibitions/jimmy-nelson-before-they-pass-away/
Terra MaterDiscover and understand the world /en/art/exhibitions/terra-mater-discover-and-understand-the-world/
Jörg F. ZimmermannFarben des Lichts - Fine Glass Arts /en/art/exhibitions/farben-des-lichts-fine-glass-arts-by-joerg-f-zimmermann/
Alexander Maria Lohmann
"Erfinder und Erfindungen" /en/art/exhibitions/dietmar-kainrath-erfinder-und-erfindungen/
Rainer W. Schlegelmilch
"The Golden Age of Car Racing" /en/art/exhibitions/rainer-w-schlegelmilch-the-golden-age-of-car-racing/
Finale in Salzburg
Red Bull Illume at Hangar-7 /en/art/exhibitions/red-bull-illume-at-hangar-7/
"World pictures" /en/art/exhibitions/terra-mater-world-pictures/
"Im Focus: Filme" /en/art/exhibitions/dietmar-kainrath-im-focus-filme/
Dietmar KainrathCulture in Cans /en/art/exhibitions/dietmar-kainrath-culture-in-cans/
The Last Mile /en/art/exhibitions/steve-mcqueen/
Gregor Schlierenzauer“Stille Momente” (Quiet Moments) /en/art/exhibitions/gregor-schlierenzauer/
Yssilo - Parallele Welt /en/art/exhibitions/robert-rottensteiner/
A Parametric Pavilion /en/art/exhibitions/the-swarm/
HangART–7 Edition 19: The Baltic States
Tides of change /en/art/hangart-7-edition-19-the-baltic-states/
Red Bull Illume 2011
Picture This! /en/art/exhibitions/red-bull-illume-2011/
HangART–7 Edition 18: Czech Republic
A Dance /en/art/hangart-7-edition-18-czech-republic/
HangART–7 Edition 17:
HangART–7 Edition 16: EnglandThe Secret Of England's Greatness /en/art/hangart-7-edition-16-england/
Material, Form und Raum /en/art/exhibitions/jos-pirkner-material-form-und-raum/
HangART–7 Edition 15: AustriaAn Encounter with
HangART–7 Edition 14: Germany
Paint Something German /en/art/hangart-7-edition-14-germany/
Circle of Memory /en/art/exhibitions/eleanor-coppola/
HangART–7 Edition 13: Italy
Una forza del passato /en/art/hangart-7-edition-13-italy/
HangART–7 Edition 12: Portugal
Pavilhão de Portugal /en/art/hangart-7-edition-12-portugal/
HangART–7 Edition 11: L.A. Potential
L.A. Potential /en/art/hangart-7-edition-11-la-potential/