Tim Plamper at Eduardo Secci Contemporary / Florence

Tim Plamper / “Security”

November 23 – 15 February 2020

Eduardo Secci Contemporary
Piazza Goldoni, 2
50123 Florence, Italy

“Human eyes tolerate neither sun, coitus, cadavers, nor obscurity, 
but with different reactions.”
Georges Bataille, L’anus solaire

Eduardo Secci gallery is pleased to present Security, a solo exhibit by the artist Tim Plamper, curated by Domenico de Chirico. The opening will take place on November 23, 2019 at 6:30pm at our main exhibition spaces in Piazza Goldoni 2, Florence, Italy.
The interdisciplinary nature of Tim Plamper’s practice originates from an interest in many fields of knowledge: from literature to anthropology, from philosophy to sociology, from art history to eroticism and transgression. An empirically-based theory that sees the human mind as the origin of all knowledge since it receives the stimuli of the outside world, and then organizes and expresses them via language, the exploration of physical experience and multifaceted nudity, including the hedonistic nuditas naturalis, the charitable nuditas temporalis, the innocent nuditas virtualis and the lustful nuditas criminalis, reconsidered beyond the symbolic garments between Eros and Thanatos, are all peculiar characteristics of Tim Plamper’s most recent works.
In the artist’s virtuous and meticulous drawings, nudity, permeated with “personal mystery” and aimed at revealing beauty, appears like a pit in which magnificence and cruelty are unspeakably intertwined, and where in the grey area the celebration of the rite of union between life and death takes place. It’s a great grotto, a luxurious orifice, warm and humid, scented both of life and death, in which aesthetic frenzy and the sublimation of form are ready to dance: emotional self-perfection and psychological defense mechanisms are lost.
Tim Plamper’s attempt is to gather all of these commotions and ruptures in a sort of classical frame: that of drawing. The three large-sized drawings foreseen for this new personal show entitled Security, take shape through the fusion of two different and real spaces: a grotto in Greece and a partial view of a street in front of the artist’s studio in Berlin. In one of these drawings, Plamper lies naked between two women, surrounded by a swarm of bees that visibly consists of a herd of drones, and all around them are cars, which are a metaphor for Charon’s boat, in which “He poles the boat and trims the sails himself, and ferries the dead in his dark skiff.” (1).
Another fundamental element of this corollary is the concept of gravity: the force that connects us to our planet, due to the abstraction that Earth exerts on all material bodies, that force that allows us to fall vertically onto the ground and to sink in our innermost desires and in our destiny, ideally made of love and devotion.
Plamper finds the irrational hemisphere much more interesting than the converse comfort zone and, therefore, all that he carries out can certainly be incorporated in his work, thus giving life to a series of newer metaphors, poised between the indecent and the refined, which in medias res are woven together and blend following the rule of surrealist images to then unveil and reunite according to a circular rhythm without end.
– Domenico de Chirico
Tim Plamper, born in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany in 1982. He currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied Fine Arts at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design with Alexander Roob and then, from 2003 – 2009, at the University of East London with John Smith. His works have been exhibited widely in both Germany and abroad. Among his recent exhibitions, we recall: Exit II (Prolog) (2019), Megamelange, Cologne; Reflection is a Wall (2019), Unttld Contemporary, Vienna; Not dark yet (2018), Kunsthaus Muerz, Muerzzuschlag, Austria; Zone (2017), Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris; L’œil du collectionneur (2016), Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art Strasbourg; Atlas (2016), Unttld Contemporary, Vienna; Hausbesetzung (2014), Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden.
Why are we all so lonely?
And where are we so?
Crash! In the best case.
Our bodies smashed to the ground.
What is so hard in wanting
the other one being a self?
I am the storm.
I am just crap.
Fuck me Fuck me Fuck me Fuck me…
Fuck me – or at least hold my hand
Trust me even though
I’m not worthy – but you can trust that!
I do adore you!
Connecting the worlds
We are all human
Frightened at night
But sometimes a sun beam
touches your leg…

Domenico de Chirico: Your current exhibition is entitled „Security“. Can you tell us more about the meaning of this title?

Tim Plamper: The term Security derives from a Complex of works I started in 2018. Since then, I have mainly been working on a series of artworks dealing with the current social situation in Europe with regards to the subconscious and the idea of the underworld and thresholds. My main questions were, and still are: Why can we see a shift to irrational decisions in current politics? Which structures determine the irrational? And what means do we have to access and influence these structures? In this context, I developed the publication TRANSIT, which contains a large part of the series of works created during that period. It is an artistic documentary of an expedition into my own subconscious, which is not only shaped by my personality, but following C.G. Jung and his theory of archetypes, also a psychological structure that is influenced by collective imagination and behavioral patterns. One of the chapters in this publication was titled Security, and it contains a series of drawings that I drew with my eyes closed. Back then it was a first attempt to get access to my subconsciousness. The title goes back to „Security“ as the gate keeper – a contemporary version of Charon, who was supposed to guide the dead souls into Hades on his boat. The exhibition at Eduardo Secci Contemporary is based on those same topics, yet treats them differently. I was looking to find a more consistent form and bring everything together in larger pieces. At the same time, I tried to keep a certain gap visible – like a wound that is still waiting to heal. This is also reflected in the drawings themselves – mainly they consist of two different real spaces and the threshold in between. In the foreground is a cage in Greece which is considered the entrance to the ancient underworld. It is known as the oracle of Hypnos. I went there in 2018 and realized a four day performance. As one basis of the new drawings, I used photographs documenting those four days. I am still visible in one of the drawings – lying naked in between two naked women. In the background, or overlaid by it, there is a scene from the street in front of my studio, here in Berlin. The bees that filled the cave in Greece have been replaced here by drones. And if you want to advance that thought further, Charon’s boat is replaced by cars. But you should see for yourself!

DDC: You are constantly dealing with landscapes ranging from nature, male and female body movements and gestures, a number of different objects and self-portraits. Can you please briefly describe how you manage all these elements stacked up together?
TP: I see my large drawings themselves as landscapes – landscapes meant to be entered. Their size is very important to me. If you stand in front of a piece that exceeds your body dimensions it has a direct physical effect on your own body. In addition to the intellectual reaction, one must also refer to the space. The human bodies depicted by me can be seen as metaphorical space holders on the one hand. Like this, I suggest a certain idea. On the other hand the drawn bodies are mostly the brightest areas in the composition. In terms of drawing, they are also the most open segments, since there is less graphite here than in their surroundings. First of all, this is a conceptual decision. I want to construct fields that the viewer can enter and that can be filled up with own imaginations and projections. Since these fields are human beings themselves, it is easy to relate to them. But also the other depicted objects function in a similar way. At the same time, all elements are set in a specific relation. It is always a long process to find the right elements for a particular idea. In the end, my goal is to achieve a composition in which all elements correspond on various levels. Perhaps it could be described as how a poem works. On a first level, you have the images that can be recognized. These images form a meaningful structure that is more than the single words – a story – and at best a third level; a subtext, or a higher unit that is difficult to grasp, but is certainly perceptible.

DDC: And can you please tell us more about the process of making your work?
TP: In recent years I have developed a practice that is like a stream of consciousness. In a way, I constantly work. But not everything finds its way to the physical surface and becomes a work of art. At the beginning of a new body of work I collect a lot of material – images, sketches, conceptual notes, photos, film material and literature. It’s a loose idea that takes shape in the next weeks or months. I often compare my process with the work of a gardener. I put ideas like seeds in fertile soil, water and feed them so they hopefully sprout. Sometimes I have to cut them down again and sometimes – if I’m more lucky – the single plants grow together into an entire garden. When I achieve that, I can start harvesting the fruit. Throughout this process, I try to open up to all kind of inspirations, I try to allow everything to enter. It’s a balance between intellectual and subconscious decisions building their own microcosm, which then founds the basis of the individual artworks.

DDC: The human brain is like a microcosm of a perfect utopian world. How much of your microcosm can be glimpsed in your art making?
TP: As mentioned before, I would say that there is a lot of microcosm in my process as well as in the single artworks. Utopia is also a very interesting term to talk about. We should come back to it later more intensively. But speaking of the way I am making art, I would say that I try to put as much of my personal experience into it as possible. I’m most satisfied with my results when I feel, that what I’m producing is driven and fed directly from real life. I’m not interested in inventing stories. I rather want to strip down reality to its core structures, modify those in a different and personal way and put it together again to a trace of that very same process.

DDC: Self representation, chromophobia, reproduction of images along with drawings. Is that your strength (in terms of combination of elements)?
TP: I prefer a fragmented way of working. It is the most precise way to relate to my own perception and at the same time a good way to deal with the idea of reality. I perceive certain things, separate them from their origin and combine these elements into a new structure. My core competence is certainly drawing. But I don’t mean it primarily in terms of the technical process. For me, drawing is more of a way relating to the world. It is about drawing connection lines on various levels and searching for structural similarities and links, but also using my own body as a tool of knowledge – both intellectually and physically. So far, it has been very helpful to do without color.

DDC: Where does your inspiration come from? And how much comes from your private life?
TP: In the end, it is difficult to say where the inspiration comes from. Most of the time, I find inspiration in a corner where I didn’t look for it too intensely. I have to be aware, that’s obvious. But it’s nothing I can force – otherwise I risk losing it. Basically, it can happen anywhere and I have developed a kind of note system to collect these ideas in various forms. It is a multimedia archive that I can browse if necessary.

DDC: How would you define your work in short? And, honestly speaking, can you please describe yourself according to it?
TP: This is a very interesting question, especially since I started to think differently about my own work in recent months, and it brings us back to the concept of utopia. I would not say that my work is about utopian ideas or ideals. On the contrary, I have been thinking a lot about rather dystopian issues in the past two years. But I find more and more that Utopia and Dystopia are difficult to separate for me. I see both more as a way of ideas to take shape that relate to our life, but at the same time go beyond the „profane“ and deal with a certain kind of idealization. An alternative reality that excludes the „profane“ and at the same time comprehends our existence in a poetic way. As I mentioned before, I am very interested in finding connection lines or links – you could also say rhymes – in reality and transform these structures into a work of art. Personally, I deal with my own life very similar – in most cases it is even difficult to distinguish. I personally tend to extremes. When I do something, I want to do it in its in its entirety. I can’t stand dealing with anything half-hearted. Either I am burn for it or I am leaving it.

DDC: Is there something else we should know about your work? Or something you really want to underline.
TP: If you really want to understand my work, it is important not to pick just one piece and start interpreting. You must always see it in relation to the surrounding works in which it is embedded. The gaps between them also usually play an important role. I always try to achieve artworks that work independently. But if you want to understand more precisely what I intended them to be, you have to dig deeper. I personally don’t think this is necessary, it could even be disruptive, but people tend to be interested in these questions. In this case, they always should consider the whole context.

DDC: What do your nightstands say about you? And what’s on them at the moment?
TP: I am currently reading Klaus Theweleit, „The Book of Kings“ and Alice Miller, „Thou Shalt Not Be Aware“. As I mentioned earlier, I am very much into psychology these days. It is amazing how similar the issues and questions are here and in the field of art. In art it is primarily what you are looking for as an artist and it is a fruitful germ. In psychology, the same issues are described as problems.