Biography

1948
Born on November 6 in Planegg (near Munich). Attends school in Planegg, Lochham, and Starnberg (Bavaria, Germany).

1968–70
German champion in sailing. Apprenticeship in the publishing trade at Carl Hanser Verlag (Munich).

1969
Travels to Morocco and Spain for six weeks.

1970–72
Production assistant for graphic design at Carl Hanser Verlag.

1972
Travels across Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Burma, and Hong Kong for six months. Moves to Bremen; works in the bookstore Buchhandlung B. Wassmann.

1973/74
Moves to Berlin. Works as a book designer at the publishing house Verlag Klaus Wagenbach. Begins to study philosophy (aesthetics) and religious studies under Klaus Heinrich at the Freie Universität Berlin. Moves into a factory building in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin; Bernd Koberling has a studio in the same building. Contact with Karl Horst Hödicke and, in 1976, with his students Helmut Middendorf and Salomé.

1975/76
Four-month stay in Mexico and in the South of the United States. Fascination with the Mexican landscape and the monumental images of the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alforo Siqueiros. Continues his studies in Berlin. Begins to paint.

1976–79
Works nights as a cook at the Restaurant Exil, founded by Oswald Wiener in Berlin.

1977
Is a cofounder of the Galerie am Moritzplatz in Berlin (together with Salomé, Helmut Middendorf, and Rainer Fetting, among others); the artist-run gallery will continue to operate until 1981. Paints still lifes, interiors, pictures with skulls, and figures – as well as Berlin cityscapes. In September, travels to the Basque-Galician Atlantic coast. After returning, creates the monumental painting FLUT for his first solo exhibition, at the Galerie am Moritzplatz.

1978
From October 22 to 24, paints the three-part subway picture 1/10 Sekunde vor der Warschauer Brücke: Stadtbild 3/28 in the newly-opened Kreuzberg music venue SO 36; the painting is exhibited there in the night from October 25 to 26, to the accompaniment of Metal Machine Music and other Lou Reed concept albums. Creates additional cityscapes in addition to a series featuring alpine mountains.

1979
Drops out of studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Receives the Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff-Stipendium, which permits him to quit the various jobs with which he had supported himself. From April to September, lives and works in Kaltenberg (Geltendorf, Bavaria). Creates paintings of apple trees, fields, and chestnut blossoms there.

1980
Takes part in the exhibition “Heftige Malerei”, organized by Thomas Kempas and held at Berlin’s Haus am Waldsee (together with Fetting, Middendorf, and Salomé). In the summer months, lives and works in Zwieselstein (Ötztal valley; Tyrol, Austria), where he develops new groups of works: mountainscapes, waterfalls, and stones magnified to monumental proportions.

1981
In January and February, travels to Indonesia (Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores) for six weeks. Takes part in the exhibition “Rundschau Deutschland 1” at the Künstlerwerkstatt Lothringer Straße 13 (Munich). Solo exhibitions at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery (New York) and at the gallery of Yvon Lambert (Paris). Creates Indonesia and fire paintings.

1982/83
Six-week stay in the Dominican Republic. First museum exhibition at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands). Receives a stipend from the Villa Massimo, in Rome. Creates the series “Aus der Ferne”, “Vor Rom”, and “Mann im Mond”. Meets Nina Zeidler in Rome. In the fall, moves into an apartment near St. Peter’s Basilica.

1984
In June, moves to Polling (Bavaria, Germany), where he lives and works in a former abbey estate. Marries Nina Zeidler. Moves out of his Berlin studio. Son Vincenz is born. Creates tree and snow paintings.

1985
Develops the two groups of paintings “Vor der Stadt” and “Fichtenwald”. First woodcuts.

1986
Following a stay in the hospital, develops the concept of the “Übersicht-Bilder”, while in Polling. In the fall, extended stay in Amalfi (Italy). First seascapes.

1987/88
Finds a spacious, combined studio and apartment in the Villa Andreae in Rapallo (Italy). Creates the extensive series of seascapes here. Continues to work on the “Übersicht-Bildern” in Polling.

1989
The “Übersicht-Bilder” group of works is shown in Munich (A11 Artforum) and at the Forum Kunst Rottweil (Germany). Daughter Pola is born.

1990
Travels to India for six weeks. Impressed by Hindu philosophy, creates the work groups “Himmelbilder” and “Monatsbilder”.

1991
In summer, moves into an additional studio in Monteventano (Italy). Creates the snake paintings. The Gulf War, which breaks out at the beginning of the year, leads to the series of “Knochenbilder”.

1992
Develops the motif groups of “Flowers of Romance,” “Blühende Bäume”, “Blitz”, and “Felder” in his Monteventano studio.

1993/94
In the spring, travels to Libya. Head of the painting class at the summer academy monastery Irsee, Swabia. Beginning in the fall, works on large-format desertscapes. In September 1993, self-publishes the artist magazine PlantSÜDEN (together with the austrian photographer Roland Hagenberg, Tokyo). Series of the “Erdschnittbilder” and the desertscapes. In 1994, establishes an additional studio in Oberhausen (Bavaria).

1995
In January and February, travels to Polynesia, where he travels among the Marquesas Islands on a cargo ship. Beginning in the fall, works on the South Seas paintings.

1996/97
In the summer, stay in Vietri sul Mare (Italy); workes on the first terracotta sculptures there. At the end of December and beginning of January, travels to Arizona. Beginning of the valley paintings. In November 1997, travels to Beijing and Shanghai on account of his first exhibitions in China.

1998
Beginning in January, first extensive overview of his works on paper at the Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, among other places. Appointed instructor of a painting class at the International Summer Academy Salzburg. Beginning of the cosmos series. In the winter, travels to Namibia.

1999
Parallel to the cosmos topic, begins a new series of desertscapes based on his experience of the deserts of Arizona and Namibia. In the fall, travels to Egypt for the first time.

2000
First presentation of the cosmos paintings, in the Gustav-Lübcke-Museum in Hamm (Germany). Travels to the deserts of Morocco; creates the dune paintings. In the winter, travels to Upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan).

2001/02
Catalogue raisonné of the woodcuts published by Georg Reinhardt. The first survey of this body of work is shown in Leverkusen (Germany). Continues to work on the desertscapes and cosmos pictures. Summer 2002 Head of the painting class, summer academy monastery Irsee.

2003
Doubts about continuing work on the cosmos series lead to the decision to once again direct his attention to the visible landscape as subject matter. Travels to Karelia, in northern Russia. Creates the group of works “Russische Landung”. In addition, further cosmos pictures with horizon line (early and mid-summer). In the fall, travels to Syria (particularly Aleppo), to visit the Early Christian churches and the desert cities of the Romans.

2004
In the spring, once again travels to northeastern Thailand, near the border to Laos. First exhibition of the Russia paintings, in Basel. Continues work on the cosmos series. In the summer, travels to the volcanoes of Iceland’s desert-like interior.

2005
Creates the large Polling linocut ZeitSchnitt, which is cut directly into an old section of flooring and will subsequently be exhibited in the Fischerbau (Polling). Head of a painting class in Bad Reichenhall (until 2013). Work on the pictorial cycle “Genesis.” Initial preparatory work related to the picture for the Mainz Cathedral; in 2006, the painting will be installed and consecrated in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Creates the large-format woodcut cycle “Lema sabachtani: 14 Stationen des Kreuzwegs”.

2006
The “Lema sabachtani” stations of the cross are shown in a series of Berlin subway stations reaching from Kochstraße to Friedrichstraße and in Berlin’s Nikolaikirche. First trips to Brandenburg; fascinated by the beauty and the wildness of the nature found there. In the winter, once again travels to Morocco. First comprehensive exhibition of the cosmos works in the Kunsthalle Mannheim (Germany).

2007
Decides to establish a studio in Warthe (Brandenburg, Germany), located on the shores of a lake near Boitzenburg. Watching the reflections of pristine nature on the still waters of the lakes leads to the reflection paintings. Appointment as Chairman of the Academy Council of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (until September 2011).

2008/09
Repeatedly stays in Warthe for periods of several weeks. In 2009, the Galerie Karl Pfefferle (Munich) shows the reflection works for the first time. In the summer, the paintings created in Warthe are exhibited in Potsdam (Brandenburg, Germany). Continues to work on the reflection series.

2010
Extended stays spent working in Italy and Warthe. In the fall, three-week journey through rural areas of China (Urumqi, Yunnan, Guangxi). Intensive exploration of Chinese painting and Chinese park and garden design. Creates the first China paintings, which establish a dialogue with Chinese art.

2011
In the Spring, travels to Vietnam and Cambodia. Creates the book WALD SPIEGEL WASSER, featuring 72 original woodcuts; the dust jacket also consists of a polychrome woodcut. Increasingly works on topics related to his travels in Asia: streams, waterfalls, and green images of nature that recall jungle-like and tropical climates. Continues to work on the reflection paintings.

2012
In May, the reflection and jungle paintings are shown for the first time in a larger, museological context, in the Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst (Augsburg, Germany)

2013
Travels to Chile for a couple of month in particular throughout Atacama desert and Patagonia. Head of the painting class, summer academy monastery Irsee. The second volume of the Catalogue raisonné of the woodcuts (2001-2012) published by Anuschka Koos at Wienand Verlag.

2014
At the beginning of the year large exhibition with a survey of recent woodcuts – as “ALLES FLIESST” – in combination with paintings of corresponding series in the Museum of Modern Art – Wörlen, Passau. Working journeys to Italy and Davos. Intensive work on Kirchner-reloaded paintings featuring Kirchner´s “Naturheld” Tinzenhorn.

2015
In summer the exhibition “Gipfeltreffen“ at Buchheim Museum, Bernried, presented Ernst Ludwig Kirchner`s Davos paintings and Bernd Zimmer`s Tinzenhorn cycle. It was the premier art show, featuring works of both artists.
At the same time “Die 80’er“, a large exhibition, which provided a wide overview on the figurative paintings of “Junge Wilde”, was shown at Städel Museum, Frankfurt a. M.
In autumn the show “Alles fließt“ was displayed at Museum Angerlehner, Thalheim bei Wels.
“Alles fließt” was the first comprising show at an Austrian museum, presenting a selection
of Bernd Zimmer’s group of works such as his “Cosmos” paintings or his “Schwimmendes Licht” series.

2016
Travels to India. The idea, building a columned hall of artists, revives. From now on, intense work on realizing that artistic major project. Selected paintings of the 1980th are shown at “Geniale Dilletanten” at MKG Hamburg and at the exhibition “Nieuwe Wilden” at Groninger Museum (Netherlands). Within the framework of the Culture Prize of Lower Austria the solo exhibition “Alles fließt” (“All Is In Flow”) is shown.

2017
The Catholic Academy of Bavaria, Munich exhibits the series „Cosmos“ during their 60th anniversary in the exhibition „Unendlicher Beginn (Endless Beginning)“. The Albertinum, part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, shows Bernd Zimmer’s monumental work „U-Bahn (1/10 Sekunden vor der Warschauer Brücke, Stadtbild 3/28)“ as part of the exhibit „Geniale Dilletanten (Ingenious Dilettantes)“.
Works are included in the exhibition „Libres Figurations – Années 80“ at the Hélène & Edouard Leclerc Foundation, Landerneau.

2018/19
Third major India trips to the shrines in Kerala Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Städtische Galerie Regensburg and Kasseler Museum neue galerie present a retrospective of paintings of the last 20 years. Intense work on the realization and implementation of STOA169, a columned hall designed by more than one hundred artists from all over 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 Bernd Zimmer’s woodcuts from 1985 to the present. In September, the 1st construction phase of STOA169 can be opened.

2021
The Kunsthalle Jesuitenkirche, Aschaffenburg shows the exhibition “Kristallwelt”. Despite the Corona situation, the 2nd construction phase of STOA169 can be completed.