MUNTHE ART MONDAY: ANNA ZIMMERMANN
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is Anna Zimmermann. I am a Berlin-based painter influenced by different art directions aiming to create my own. Born in 1990 in Berlin, I spent most hours of my childhood drawing and never really stopped. My first exhibition was a group exhibition that I organized with a handful of friends during my studies; Back then, I showed four large-scale portraits and continued to work with large formats and paper works. I mainly paint female figures in surreal organic surroundings. I like to make references to art history and pop music culture and combine them with everyday objects which might or might not have a deeper meaning. Listening to music and visiting museums are a great inspiration for me. I love the Louisiana museum in Copenhagen, the Guggenheim in New York, and my Berlin favourite, the Gropius Bau.
Could you explain how being a woman has affected your career?
Being a woman affected me and my career because I grew up, like most women, very self-aware of my body through the influence of the media industry - knowing that I, as a white woman, have a privileged position in the world, nonetheless. There has always been a constant invitation for the public to comment on the female body, to idolize standards or reject diversity. Pop culture portrayed a very exclusive way of how women should look and behave; most of all, females' presences were sculptured by male power. My work aspires to free itself from limitations and sculpt a confident, self-made celebration of femininity.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
I am generally drawn to paintings - I love to discover details in them and get inside of the process of an artist, which in my opinion, every brushstroke reveals to you a bit. There is Paula Modersohn-Becker, a German expressionist painter whose biography I read in my teens; she has inspired me ever since. Her striving to be an artist and to continue her practice and development as a female in her time is fierce and touching. Her self-portraits have a raw fearlessness. She's also the first woman ever to draw a female nude. I am a massive fan of the New York artists Cassi Namoda and Chloe Wise. I love Lotte Laserstein and Helen Frankenthaler; Laserstein's work ”Abend über Potsdam“ is one of my favourite paintings. Helen Frankenthaler's large-scale abstract water-stained paintings can keep you in front them for hours; and you will continue to make discoveries in them with excitement. Alicja Kwade's sculptures are breath-taking, and her research and conceptual work are brilliant and inspiring. I would love to see the one on the roof of the MoMa.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
A challenge is to balance how much of yourself, and your femininity you will give to your art. My work is personal, and I identify myself with it. There are discussions in the art world about female art. Is it too soft? Too female-focused? These statements can be distracting. There has been male domination through all aspects of our lives, a world where he is the standard. We are just starting to strive for equality, for a global and vigorous female intake. Can we do that without starting to restrict it right at its blossoming?
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
The works should present to them the confidence and passion with which they have been done, and allow enough space and calmness for the viewer to be able to imagine and interpret freely.
Anna is wearing our ALIMMA knit-vest.