21-6-2011 Lanzarote - Nature has always had a profound effect on the Frankfurter artist Luzius Ziermann. Originally he started painting using bright colours on simple canvas sheets without a frame.Due to the way in which they wrinkled and shrunk while they dried, three dimensional pieces were formed which reminded the viewer of the landscape in reality. By now, however, he feels these artificially created landscapes are too small and narrow. Maybe because the possibilities of brush and canvas did not allow him to capture nature’s true beauty, he decided not to depict it in his work anymore. In reverse, the artist found his solution. He wanted to put his signature on something that was already created. He wanted to enhance the landscape and draw attention to it. He used 2,506 old side-mirrors from cars in order to put his signature of light on landscapes all over the world. In this interview he speaks about his newest mirror installation on Lanzarote.
Lanzarote and the fine arts:a conflicting thing.The island is affected so much by the influence of Cesar Manrique, that other artists may have a hard time succeeding on Lanzarote. Still, the artist and “island’s son” is seen in every whitewashed wall façade, be it ugly or not. It is a mistake to assume that residents or politicians, whose island profits so much from one artist alone like Lanzarote, are especially interested in other aspiring artists. Neither are they invited to the island, nor are they welcomed with enthusiasm On this island, art and its protagonists are being looked at just as indifferently and sceptically as in any other randomly chosen place. When the works of an artist attracts tourists andhelps them to pass their spare time, it’s fine. However, if his ideas prevent lucrative construction projects, even after his death, the best promoter of the island can become an inconvenience. And artists can turn into an inconvenience very quickly, as Lanzarote has experienced.
And after all these things, the Frankfurter artist, Luzius Ziermann (51) still chose Lanzarote for his installation ´Signature of Lights’. For the inexperienced audience, his work is a rather cumbersome issue, because his aesthetics and symbols are not easily understood at a first glance. To comprehend Ziermann’s works fully, one has to view the installation from above or use one’s imagination – otherwise all one sees are 2,506 old car mirrors, randomly distributed across anacre of land in northern Lanzarote, only a few meters from Mirador del Rio.
Of course, Ziermanns mirrors are not randomly placed around the area.They are organised so that they can be seen from above. They form his symbol, the symbol of the sign ´Luzius´, which is his ´ Signature of Lights´. Ziermann wants to sign the extraordinary landscapes of the earth, whose peculiarity and beauty are noticeable, in order to enhance the beginning of time.
In the interview he spoke about his work and his hardships which have become a reality.
Mr Ziermann, you write your signature in a big way on the landscape. How did you create such an idea?
Before, I used to paint the landscape, acrylic and pigments that I nurtured on canvas. My motifs were sublime structures of landscapes that looked like theywere being seen from above. Now I sign the landscape.
How does this drawing have a special meaning?
It is a part of my signature, an extraction that is graphically refined. The vertical lines represent the light that shines from above. The horizontal line represents the zone where the light meets, the swinging oval, represents the dynamics involved with the rotation of the Earth and it´s light source-the sun. The two points represent the sun and moon.
You use your symbol to leave your mark on the landscape. What remains when you have to rebuild your installation?
Waves, people who talk about it and photographs. In co-operation with a gallery owner from Munich, I am planning an exhibition of my pictures.
When an artist is preparing their work, a relationship grows between the artist and the unfinished piece, which is completed with the final signature of the artist. What relationship do you have with Lanzarote?
Please don´t misunderstand me: it is not me that signs the landscape but the light that signs the earth with my help through the installation. In a figurative sense nature signs itself- I am only the medium.
When choosing Lanzarote, you chose an island which was influenced very much by an artist who also dealt with nature a lot. What does César Manrique mean to you?
On the island one can´t evade Manrique. What he did was fantastic. I like his earthy style, which is so very close to nature. His interaction between art and nature is something I can relate to very well. But this island must also emancipate itself from Manrique. His work has to be unconditionally cherished. However, more room should be made for other artists’ ideas and other artists’ characters.
Do you notfear that the tourism industry might abuse your work? Ireland calls to you now.
No. It´s the opposite. I do not hold my installations in random places. I accentuate the special landscapes. The yellow of the Namibiandesert, the black of Lanzarote, the green of Ireland, the water, ice…there are prominent landscapes .Perhaps, my light drawings areto specific landscapes what the yellow banana of the ´Banana graffiti´, by Thomas Baumgärtel,is for a good art exhibition: a good seal of approval for the wonderful areas on our planet. (Laughs)
Where are your outdoor mirrors bringing you next?
In August we are bringing the installation to Ireland, where exactly, we still need to decide. Afterwards - we will see. I have lots of new ideas and perhaps Lanzarote will see me soon again.