1948 Born on November 6 in Planegg near Munich. School years in Planegg, Lochham, Starnberg.
German sailing champion. Apprenticeship as publishing bookseller at Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich.
Six-week trip to Morocco and Spain.
Production assistant for graphic design at Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich.
Six-month trip through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Hong Kong. Moves to Bremen, works in the bookshop Bettina Wassmann.
Moves to Berlin, book designer at the publishing house Klaus Wagenbach. Started studying philosophy and religious studies with Klaus Heinrich at the Freie Universität. Moves into rooms in a factory building in Kreuzberg, where Bernd Koberling also maintains a workshop. Contact with Karl Horst Hödicke.
Four-month stay in Mexico and in the south of the USA. Examination of the Mexican landscape and the monumental paintings of the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alforo Siqueiros leads to the decision to become a painter. Continues his studies in Berlin. Beginning of painting. Acquaintance with the Hödicke students Salomé and Helmut Middendorf.
Nightly work as a cook in the restaurant Exil, founded by Oswald Wiener.
Co-founder of the Galerie am Moritzplatz, Berlin (together with Salomé, Helmut Middendorf, Rainer Fetting and others), which existed as an artists’ self-help gallery until 1981. Still lifes, interiors, paintings with skulls and figures, and Berlin cityscapes. In September, travels to the Basque-Galician Atlantic coast. After returning, creates the monumental painting “FLUT” for the first solo exhibition at the Galerie am Moritzplatz.
In the just opened music hall SO 36 in Kreuzberg, the three-part subway picture “1/10 Sekunde vor der Warschauer Brücke. Stadtbild 3/28″ is created from October 22 to 24; exhibition of the painting there on the night of October 25/26, accompanied by “Metal-machine music” and other concept LPs by Lou Reed. More “Stadtbilder” are created, besides a series with mountains.
Completion of studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin. Receives the Karl Schmidt Rottluff scholarship. April to September working stay in Kaltenberg near Landsberg am Lech. Here he creates paintings of “Apfelbäume”, “Felder” and “Kastanien”.
Participation in the exhibition “Heftige Malerei” organized by Thomas Kempas in the Berlin Haus am Waldsee (with Fetting, Middendorf and Salomé). During the summer months working stay in Zwieselstein (Ötztal/Tyrol), where new groups of works of “Berg”-paintings, “Wasserfälle” and oversized stones are created.
January/February six-week trip to Indonesia (Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores). Participation in the exhibition “Rundschau Deutschland 1″ at the Künstlerwerkstatt Lothringer Straße 13, Munich. Solo exhibition at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York and Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris. Creation of the “Indonesien”- and “Feuer”- paintings.
Six-week stay as artist in residence of the Gulf & Western Company in La Romana, Dominican Republic. First museum exhibition at the Groningen Museum. Awarded the scholarship of the Villa Massimo, Rome. There he creates the series of paintings “Aus der Ferne”, “Vor Rom” and “Mann im Mond”. In the fall of 1983 moves into an apartment in Via Catone near St. Peter’s Basilica.
In June moves to Polling/Upper Bavaria, moves into the former monastery estate. Marriage to Nina Zeidler. Abandonment of the Berlin studio. Birth of son Vincenz. “Baum”- and “Schnee”- pictures are created.
Work on the picture groups “Vor der Stadt” and “Fichtenwald”. First woodcuts.
Development of the “Übersicht”-pictures after a long stay in hospital. In autumn longer stay in Amalfi. First “Meerbilder”.
Move into a spacious studio apartment in the Villa Andräe in Rapallo/Liguria. Here the extensive series of “Meerbilder” is created. In Polling further “Übersicht”-pictures are created.
The group of works of the “Übersicht”-pictures is shown in Munich (A11 Artforum) and in the Forum Kunst Rottweil. Birth of daughter Pola.
Six-week trip to India. Under the impression of Hindu philosophy, the work groups “Himmelbilder” and “Monatsbilder” are created.
Establishes a studio in Monteventano/Emilia-Romagna. The “Schlangen”-pictures are created. The series of “Knochen”-pictures is created in response to the Gulf War, which broke out at the beginning of the year.
In the studio in Monteventano the pictures “Flowers of Romance”, “Blühende Bäume”, “Blitz” and “Felder” are created.
In the spring trip to Libya. Head of the painting class at the Summer Academy Kloster Irsee. From autumn work on large-format “Wüsten”-paintings. In September 1993 “PlantSÜDEN” is published for the first time (together with Roland Hagenberg, Tokyo). Series of “Erdschnitt”- and “Wüsten”- pictures. 1994 Establishment of another studio in Oberhausen near Polling.
January/February trip to Polynesia and with a cargo ship to the Marquesas Islands. From autumn work on “Südsee”-pictures.
In summer stay in Vietri near Salerno, where the first sculptures in terracotta are created. At the turn of the year, travels to Arizona; creates “Tal”-paintings. In November 1997 trip to Beijing and Shanghai on the occasion of first exhibitions in China.
Beginning in January, an extensive survey of works on paper is shown for the first time at the Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin and other venues. Appointment as head of a painting class at the International Summer Academy Salzburg. Start of the “Cosmos” series. In winter, trip to Namibia.
Parallel to the “Cosmos”-paintings, “Wüsten”-paintings are created, based on impressions from Arizona and Namibia. In autumn first trip to Egypt.
First presentation of the “Cosmos”-paintings in the Gustav-Lübcke-Museum, Hamm. Journey to the desert region of Marroko; the “Wüsten”- pictures are created. In winter trip to Upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan).
The catalog raisonné of the woodcuts (1985-2000), edited by Georg Reinhardt, is published by Wienand-Verlag. The first overview of this work complex is shown in Leverkusen. Continued work on the “Wüsten”- and “Cosmos”- paintings. Summer 2002 Head of the painting class, Summer Academy Kloster Irsee.
Doubts about the continuation of the “Cosmos” series lead to the decision to deal again with actually experienced landscape as a motif. Journey to Karelia in the north of Russia. The group of works “Russische Landung” is created. In addition, further “Cosmos” pictures. Begins teaching at the Bad Reichenhall Art Academy (until 2021). In autumn, trip to Syria, especially Aleppo, to the early Christian churches and desert cities of the Romans.
In spring another trip to North-East-Thailand to the border area to Laos. First exhibition of the Russia pictures in Basel. Further work on the “Cosmos” series. In summer trip to the volcanoes of Iceland.
The over 18 m long floor covering cut “ZeitSchnitt” is created, documented on film by Christian Virmond and exhibited in the Fischerbau, Polling. Work on the picture cycle “Genesis”. First preliminary work on “Himmel für Mainz”, which is installed and inaugurated in the Sacrament Chapel of Mainz Cathedral in 2006. The large woodcut cycle “Lema sabachtani. 14 Stationen des Kreuzwegs” is created.
The Way of the Cross “Lema sabachtani” is shown in the Berlin subway stations Koch- to Friedrichstraße and in the Nikolaikirche. First trips to Brandenburg. Another trip to Morocco in winter. First comprehensive exhibition of the “Cosmosbilder” in the Kunsthalle Mannheim.
Decision for a studio in Warthe/Uckermark, Boitzenburger Land. Observation of the reflection of untouched nature in the still waters of the lakes leads to the “Reflexionsbilder”. Appointed Chairman of the University Council of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (until September 2011).
Stays in Warthe for several weeks. 2009 Karl Pfefferle Gallery, Munich, shows the “Reflexionsbilder” for the first time. In summer the pictures, which were created on site in Warthe, are exhibited in Potsdam. Further work on the picture series “Reflexion”.
Longer working stays in Italy and Warthe. In autumn, three-week trip to the rural areas of China (Urumqi, Yunnan, Guangxi). Bavarian Television shoots the documentary “Bernd Zimmer. Die Farbe und das Licht” (director: Antje Harries). The multi-part painting “1/10 Sekunde vor der Warschauer Brücke” (1978) is added to the collection of the Berlinische Galerie. One of the 1978 subway pictures created in this context becomes the property of the Bush-Reisinger Museum in Cambridge, USA.
In spring, trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. The impressions of the lush vegetation of Asia and the preoccupation with Chinese painting and philosophy lead to the picture series of “Kristallwelten”. Further work on the “Reflexionen”. The book “WALD SPIEGEL WASSER” with 72 color woodcuts is created. Stage design for the theater performance “Glenn Gould vs. Glenn Gould” at the Gasteig, Munich. The catalog raisonné of the paintings on canvas (1976-2010), edited by Anuschka Koos, is published by Hirmer-Verlag.
The Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst, Augsburg, shows “Kristallwelten” and “Reflexionen” for the first time in a larger, museum context. In December, the Bernd Zimmer Art Foundation is recognized as a foundation under civil law.
Several weeks of travel through Chile, especially the Atacama Desert and Patagonia. Head of a painting class at the Summer Academy Kloster Irsee. The 2nd volume of the catalog raisonné of woodcuts (2001-2012) by Anuschka Koos is published by Wienand-Verlag.
Beginning of the year large survey exhibition of recent woodcuts – such as “Alles fließt” – together with paintings of the corresponding series in the Museum moderner Kunst – Wörlen, Passau. Working trips to Italy and Davos. Intensive work on the Kirchner-reloaded paintings, which deal with Kirchner’s “nature hero” Tinzenhorn.
The Buchheim Museum, Bernried shows Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Davos paintings together with Bernd Zimmer’s “Tinzenhorn”-cycle in the exhibition “Gipfeltreffen”. At the same time, the large survey exhibition “Die 80’er” at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt, is dedicated to the figurative painting of the “Junge Wilden”. This will be followed in the fall by the solo exhibition “Alles fließt” at the Museum Angerlehner, the first comprehensive museum show in Austria. It presents a selection of the work groups “Cosmos” or “Schwimmendes Licht”.
2016 Second trip to India to the Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu. Resumption of the idea of an KünstlerSäulenhalle, intensive work on the realization of the idea STOA169. Pictures of the 1980s are shown as part of “Geniale Dilletanten” at the Museum Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg and “Nieuwe Wilden” at the Groninger Museum.
On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, the Katholische Akademie in Bayern, Munich, shows the exhibition “Unendlicher Beginn”, dedicated to the “Cosmos” paintings. As part of “Geniale Dilletanten”, the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden exhibits the monumental work “U-Bahn (1/10 Sekunde vor der Warschauer Brücke, Stadtbild 3/28)” at the Albertinum. The Hélène & Édouard Leclerc Foundation addresses European positions of figurative painting of the 1980s in the exhibition “LIBRES FIGURATIONS ANNÉES 80”.
Third India trips to the sanctuaries in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. A retrospective of painting from the last 20 years is presented at the Städtische Galerie Regensburg and the Museum neue galerie in Kassel. Intensive work on the realization and implementation of STOA169, a hall of columns designed by over a hundred artists of the world.
2020 The Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich opens the exhibition “Tikimania” and shows works by Bernd Zimmer in interaction with objects from the Marquesas Islands. The exhibition “Reflex” at Museum Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen is dedicated to woodcuts from 1985 to the present. In September, the 1st construction phase of STOA169 is opened.
2021 The Kunsthalle Jesuitenkirche, Aschaffenburg shows the exhibition “Kristallwelt”. Despite the Corona situation, the 2nd construction phase of STOA169 can be completed.