I was born in 1924 in Aussig, Bohemia – as a soldier I was already admitted to the University of Praga (Faculty of Medicine and Biology) to study the wonders of the consciousness and the birth of thoughts in the brain. After the deportation from the USSR I had to abandon this project. I started to study Painting and Sculpture in Munich and did extended trips all over the Europe. I lived in Italy – in Ischia, Venice, Rome and Milan. In 1963/64 I visited the Eastern countries like Egypt and India and in 1965/66 I stayed in New York. Now I live in Bern and with my recent manuscript regarding the painting as a psychic adventure, like the documentation of Individuazionprozess, I returned, with an unexpected prospective, to my adolescent ambitions.
(Helmut Zimmermann, from the catalogue of Galleria del Naviglio, 1971)
Why I paint?
I try to use my freedom. I try to face life. I try to comprehend it (through my own life).
As I paint I encounter myself, I acquire consciousness of myself: painting=philosophy, with other means. Advancing in the visual: experimenting with the visual (in the visibility of the painting) I find clarifications on the invisible. Working symbolically, I act on the painting as if I am acting on and in myself. The painting magically replace me. I am aiming to the integrity, through the painting-substitute, that I desire for my life. Moving forward, transforming the painting, I advance, I transform myself. I discover and (reciprocally) the discovery changes me.
The painting becomes a means of development of a human being, it is also at the same time the documentation of the development itself (or of the process of identification).
The painting is my exercitum vitae.”
(Helmut Zimmermann, from the catalogue of Galleria del Naviglio, 1965)