by Susanne Prinz, 2016
A surprising number of artists have worked with synthetic material in the past. However the material often appeared as a one off and was not used in a methodical fashion. The use of PE films in particular had some bizarre outcomes at times. As this industrially produced material has appeared so frequently in contemporary art over the past few decades, it hast to be considered a classic material not just for sculpture but for painting too. Indeed, for a long time it seemed to modernise anything it touched. However, by now the use of plastic in art has become ambivalent. Nowadays, it seems to be a material that points both to the past and to the future at the same time. There is no longer the celebration of novelty or naïve optimism attached to its use. It has a striking ability to hover ambiguously between the three-dimensional world of objects and the two-dimensional world of images, making it exceptionally attractive as a contemporary material.
It seems reasonable to assume that Michaela Zimmer’s specific interest lies right here, given the fact that her work has always explored the different possibilities of the spatial conditions we move in, and the images we create of these. It is through this exploration that her paintings bring the body forward as an argument. This is not necessarily visible at first, but it is palpable, because the format and interior structure of the canvases are based on the artist’s height and reach. Thus a performative space is portrayed which corresponds directly with each viewer, since like Le Corbusier’s Modulor, it takes man as the measure. If one engages with it, not only does a fusion of pictorial and actual space occur, the painting support and the picture also become one. For a lack of a fixed source of light in the picture, the distance collapses, which separates the viewer from the location of the visual experience. Instead, there is an infinite succession of reflections in a countless number of paint layers. What is specific about these canvases, characterised by a virtually incorporeal, floating chromatic space, is the fourth dimension inscribed within them; time manifested as traces of the performative between the multi-stratified, fragmented layers.
The introduction of sculptural elements enhances this remarkable oscillation of spatial awareness. Details get blurred and stay hidden behind semi transparent PE film. The dichotomy of abstraction and corporeality disappears in the merging of image and object – illusionary space and material. Looking at her past work it is obvious that it has always required an active viewer, someone who does not only decipher in a linear fashion by means of syntactical and lexical rules, but who puts themselves in direct association to the objects and signs defined by the movement and energy in the work. From this perspective the extension of the image to a further level of objectivity is coherent and convincing.