May – June 2016

The painting can be an initiatory journey that give the possibility to grow from within. A work of art become a meditation object in which you can lose and find yourself whenever you want. The work of the artist Helmut Zimmermann (1924-2015) is the perfect example of this vision. Studio Gariboldi is pleased to present a retrospective exhibition dedicated to his paintings of the 60’s.

Helmut Zimmermann was born in 1924 in Bohemia. From 1942 to 1945 he was enlisted in the German anti-aircraft defence. He fought in France, Russia and Italy, where he deserted and switched on the side of the partisans who were fighting in the Piave area. After the war Zimmermann was expelled from Bohemia. He began to study painting and sculpture in Monaco and Nuremberg and to head out on long journeys across Europe. In these years the artist developed a passion for the Carl Gustav Jung’s theories, in particular for the depth psychology and individuation process: concepts that will be fundamental for his work for many years.

For Zimmermann the painting is a means to self awareness. It is a process that points out the development of the individual personality and of the spirit. The latter is not visible, but it becomes perceptible to the eyes of the spectators through the painted image. The painting turn into a self-projection, readable as an X-ray, in which the corporeity is no longer a limit. Every painting represents a scheme of existence, a sort of Mandala (from Sanscrit circle), and Zimmermann puts himself in its center. The line traced around the focal point becomes a fence that avoids the dispersion of the most intimate personality and protects everything that is contained inside. The drawing of a possible mental order appears on the canvas along with the shadows, fissures and chinks filled up with light. All these elements are integral parts of the soul and are essential for spiritual elevation.

The continuous inner transformation reflects on the pictorial projection, which the artist uses to discover himself and consequently to transfigure once again. In this way his research builds a path towards the totality of the psyche and purification of the spirit. Zimmermann looks inside his soul, trying to find and to create a center of luminous silence.

“I’m building inside the painting a place where life is possible. Devotly, I’m trying to find order, health, salvation.” (From the exhibition catalogue of the Galleria del Naviglio, 1965).