A Meditative State Of Seeing In Tim Plamper’s Rigorous Drawings

Tim Plamper‘s (b.1982) small and large-scale artworks introduce a delicate lexicon of drawing techniques together with a thoughtful experimental imagery in order to examine the multifaceted layers of space, time and place. Most of his uncommon works in pencil present a realistic, almost photographic, perspective giving the illusory effect of a real scene rather than an imaginative space. Being keen on multi-layered compositions, his visual narrative easily becomes fluid and versatile on the occasion of a critical interpretation. Pictures sport major importance in Plamper’s inspiration; starting from a vague idea, the artist “starts doing sketches, takes photos or writes down ideas that over the time get more precise and render a more and more clear image” as he mentions himself.
Tim Plamper, Self-Portrait 001, pencil on paper, 59 x 42,5 cm, 2018
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Taking into consideration artworks such as “Dissociation 002 (the minds temptation)”, 2017, or in Zona, 2017, a large body of different images and shapes create perspectives of fragmented parts of an imaginative reality. Usually, creating a multifaceted sense of a monochromatic illusion, the drawn visual arrangements stand still but then diminish, whilst his works present a rigorous feeling of cross-section which render a exceptionally contemporary artistic experience. Plamper’s almost shadowy fine pencil drawings can be considered as negatives of snapshots from the artist’s uncanny parallel microcosm. There is a an enigmatic energy revealing in the darkness of his drawings that seem to guide the viewer into another dimension; bodies and other scenes tend to become live of their own rendering attraction of these beautifully contradictory details between fragments of mysterious forms. Bare bodies, a Plamper’s significant motif, quietly and gently mesh around with other objects creating an atmosphere of an unique intimacy and not of showy eccentricities of nudism.
Tim Plamper, Zone, installation view at Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris, 2017
Dealing with landscapes from nature, male or female body movements, self-portraits and random objects -such as vases, chairs or plastic bottles- significantly contribute into this unsettlingly alarming effect. The silvery and even shiny medium of the graphite surfaces together with the seemingly non-representational and conceptual depictions require a deeper investigation than an impetuous look.
Tim Plamper, Dissociation 002 (the minds temptation), pencil on paper, 200 x 150 cm, 2017
His collective synthesis, which interrelates manifold sources of inspiration, develops a complex visual environment which successfully manages to communicate its common language as an art piece. A drawing’s visual content becomes more easily engaged over constant observation in Plamper’s painterly feature conjunctions. Time and language can be considered co-dependent while staring at the artist’s work; the eye lingers over the surface aiming to decode Plamper’s artistic arrangements. At this stage, his figurative drawings can be also considered quite close towards abstraction.
Born in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, Tim Plamper lives and works in Berlin. He was a student Prof. Alexander Roob and Prof. John Smith. The artist’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums in Berlin, Paris, Vienna and London.
In his interview with Art Verge, Tim Plamper shares his alluring and mysterious approach on his work and other art issues, while also providing some very important insights about his daily life.
Tim Plamper, Zone, installation view at Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris, 2017
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Tim Plamper: Thinking about it now, I would say that I work like a gardener. Most works are growing over years continuously in the back of my mind before they enter this world physically. At the beginning it’s just a vague idea. This is the seed I put into fertile soil. It’s growing slowly and has to be watered from time to time. I start doing sketches, take photos or write down ideas that over the time get more precise and render a more and more clear image. During that part of the process I work on several ideas at the same time. Often it happens that they fertilize each other. It’s a lot about shifting content from one place to the other and drawing connections. Try and error. Until it’s there. At a certain point I can see that it’s ripe. To use another metaphor: At a certain point I put the last piece into the puzzle and see the whole image clearly in front of me. This is the moment where I put a sheet of paper on the wall and start drawing. I always just work on one drawing at the same time. It’s always a very intense and compared to the process before a very short act. I work intensively during night and day, sleep less, listen to Techno all the time, drink a lot of Club Mate, guide the image into this world and harvest the ripe drawing. It’s a trip, absolute focus, pure concentration.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
TP: Living in images!
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
TP: Andrej Tarkovskij, Henri Michaux, Matthias Grünewald, Pierre Klossowski, Kaye Donachie, Dirk Braeckman, Tanita Dean and Ben Wheatley.
Tim Plamper, Europa nach dem Regen, pencil on paper, 196 x 283 cm, 2017
AV: When was the latest video you watched on social media and had an impact on your mood? Which one?
TP: Well – it wasn’t a video, but a post from Wolfgang Tillmans about the current rise of nationalists all over the world. It’s a disaster!
AV: Creating a new drawing is a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
TP: Yes certainly! When I concentrate on a new drawing I have no social life anymore – I totally dive into this new and other world, get lost there and come back when the drawing is finished.
AV: How do you know when a drawing is finished?
TP: It’s finished when it looks exactly like the image I had in my mind and perfectly fits the idea I wanted to transport. I exactly know when it’s ripe.
Tim Plamper, Fragments of a Scene 002, pencil on paper, 59 x 47 cm, 2017
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
TP: My studio is a completely empty industrial space. Just what is really essential for my current project is allowed to stay there, but basically it’s empty. For me the space I’m working at is a kind of extension of my mind. It has to be as straight as possible so I can move freely.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
TP: Sayre Gomez at Nagel Draxler
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
TP: I hope audiences will start to think about things differently again and from a new point of view.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
TP: I have no idea. Next time we meet, I will ask her!
Tim Plamper, Dissociation 004 (The Hearts Shadow), 2017, pencil on paper, 196 x 254 cm
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
TP: A night owl. I can’t stand when the whole city is busy with trivial activities. I really like the fact that most of the people surrounding me are asleep. That brings them closer to my mindset.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
TP: It’s always full!
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
TP: At the moment, I’m working on my upcoming solo exhibition that will open at Unttld, Vienna this autumn. As I finished a three year body of work with my solo exhibition Zone at Suzanne Tarasieve last year, I’m currently diving into new waters. That’s thrilling!
Tim Plamper, Hermaphrodite, wallpaper, 310 x 650 cm, 2017
©All images are courtesy of the artist

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