Friday, September 12, 2014

Who I am

Artist Statement  

Artist Name:               Nirmi Ziegler
Work title:                 ‘Who I am’
Date of production:    2013
Media:                            Handmade paper, water colour, cotton thread
Dimensions (h x w):     45 x 65 cm


General Concept:
The art works are created by using the process of papermaking from plant off-cuts or cotton rags. The pulp forms the basis for a process of layering. This is sometimes done with inlays applied on the wet paper. In a further process after the drying, some of these papers then become the support for prints, painting, embroidery, and further collage. The main concerns deal with environmental (outer) issues and an inner exploration.
Who I am
This artwork questions the concept of identity, which attaches itself to the variables of outer manifestations[1], but neglects the question of ‘why we are’ in the first place. What is our purpose beyond manmade economics, boundaries, restrictions and this artificial construct of ‘otherness’? The five languages used represent these fabricated identities.[2]
Instead of the emphasis on how we differ, the concept of the artwork aims to see the path of humanity as a whole, investigating it from the paradigm of self-experience, also known as meditation.
‘Who I am’  is a poem written in 2006 as part of an inner exploration. In this artwork fragments of the poem are used, which correspond with the colours, forms, lines, and textures of the work. This further emphasises the various investigations into the self. The four colours code the four experienced levels of being: nothingness (white), existence (blue), tangible reality (yellow), and the individual (red). The mainly abstract character of the artwork makes reference to the beginnings of this genre, which was essentially spiritual in its concept.  

[1]  such as ( the ‘big’ issues of) nation, religion, culture, and ( ‘trivial’ matters of) food, sports,‘soapies’, car-, computer- and cell phone brands, and the lot.
[2]  The poem is in English, but for this artwork, parts of it were translated into different languages: Italian, Latin, French, German and English.

Io sono una parte
Ero e sarò  sempre una parte
I am part
 was and will always be part

je changé
I change
Muto formae
Mutatis mutandis
I change my forms
I change
Ich bin mir selbst ein Rätsel
wer ich wohl bin?
I am a mystery to myself
what I am lies outside my perception

and still I am and will be
eternally a part of this

Fragments from the poem “Who I am” by NIRMI

16. February 2006

Monday, September 8, 2014

2007 Venice Biennial Impressions

Exhibition 'Not made in China'

Walk about

Artist Statement for ‘Tree of Life’ 2012

Artist Names:                 Nirmi Ziegler, John Roome
Scientist:                       Werner van Zyl
Work title:                   ‘Tree of Life’
Date of production:        2012
Media:                            Plywood, Acrylic, Marker   
Dimensions:                   243 x 120 cm

General Concept:
The collaboration between ‘art and science’ created dialogues that indicated how connected the two disciplines are, as we share concerns about the future of our species on an abused planet.  
Our investigation
The great benefits of science and technology are overshadowed by an irresponsible attitude of greed which destroys our environment. This ignorance of our reality (being part of nature, embedded and nourished by the environment, and as part of the whole), marked our shared field of interest. All three of us have previously worked on projects related to sustainability and the environment.
The Problem
At present, humanity does not practice a renewable energy policy, but spirals into unsustainable growth in an unequal world. We either squander resources and pollute an ever weakening environment, or live in poverty, deprived of technological achievements.
The Solution
Van Zyl is a chemist interested in the field of ‘artificial photosynthesis’, a concept pioneered by Daniel Nocera, which uses light, a catalyst and water to produce energy. The goal is to split water into its components of oxygen and hydrogen because the latter is able to store two-and-a-half times as much energy per kilogram as conventional fuels. The ability to generate cheap and on-demand electricity is another goal, as well as producing clean and drinkable water by recombining it with oxygen. Proof-of-principle research has been demonstrated in the laboratory but scaling the problem larger is not yet cost-effective.
The Artwork
The ‘tree of life’ is a synonym for the Baobab tree, which is an endangered species. The plywood leaf is in the shape of a Baobab leaf to celebrate Africa. It also draws awareness to the destructive attitude of the human species that suppresses other species to the verge of extinction by taking away their habitat. And it is a symbol for photosynthesis, which enables many other life forms to exist, including us. We came up with a ‘mind map’ that reflected on the past, present and future of ‘sustainable energy’, making it clear that fossil fuels are a dead-end road (the present) and new sustainable energy sources, especially solar, are an urgent requirement.

The artists Roome and Ziegler tried to translate this concept, assisted by the scientist, using the natural patterns of the plywood to direct the flow of the words. 

Ihre alte Strickjacke

Ihre alte Strickjacke

Sachen – meine Sachen, 
so ich, so mich, gewichtig
ganz lang her, da war es
mehr als ich, wichtig.

Meine Sachen waren ich.

Damals war Leben jung
unendlich weg sein Ende. 
Horizonte hinter Horizonten.

Ploetzlich bin ich dort.
Leben end-lich, Punkt.

Meine Sachen werden bleiben.

Ich in ihnen, nun ohne mich, 
second hand oder Muellsack.

Die alte Strickjacke, 
nach ihrem Tod hing sie im Schrank, nun ohne Sie.

Nun haengt sie in meinem Schrank.
Jedesmal wenn sie mich waermt, 
waermt sie auch unter der Haut, 

Du Liebe, Du Gute, 

ich fuehle Dich, Du

Her old Cardigan

Things – my things,
so I, so me, important.

Very long ago, they were more than me, more worthy.

My things were me.
Back then life was young
far away its end.
Horizons behind horizons.

Suddenly I am there.
Life finite, fullstop.

My things will stay.