PARIS.- Hanns Schimansky was born in 1949 in East Germany. Trained as an agronomist engineer, he decided in 1979 to devote his career to art and more particularly to drawing.
In this exhibition, Hanns Schimansky is showing 40 drawings made between 2007 and 2010. These drawings, written as much as drawn, attempt to capture and to prolong the present moment, to mirror the rhythm of the universe. Using and provoking the idea of chance, he metaphorically slows the headlong speed at which we live in todays world, dominated as it is by the media. Geometric shapes and intercrossing, looping lines, accentuated by the folds in the paper he uses, form Schimanskys unmistakable energetic graphic style: cities and landscapes appear, through which we are invited to travel.
By holding the instrument at an acute angle to the surface in order to make downward moving lines or rolling the drawing tool to make a twisting, rough-edged line, Schimansky undermines the more familiar, fluid movement of a pencil or paint stick across the paper. (
) In some drawings, its as if different abstract, hieroglyphs have invaded each others territory, forming a new hybrid language, writes John Yau, poet and art critic, in the introduction for the catalogue for this show.
Hanns Schimansky has shown widely in Europe, especially in Germany, in particular he has had important solo shows held at the Gemeentemuseum in La Haye, at the Staatscliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe as well as at the Musée dArt et dHistoire in Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The artists work figures in the public collections of the National Contemporary Art Museum in Oslo, de la Berlinische Galerie, the National Contemporary Art Museum in Berlin and the Musée dArt et dHistoire in Neuchâtel as well as in other major public collections.
Hanns Schimansky, The Craftsman of Drawing
A German Artist Little-Known in France
Born in 1949 in East Germany, Hanns Schimansky has shown mainly in Germany. Having been awarded different prizes and grants (The Academy of Arts in the RDA, Berlin, Société Winckelmann, Kunstring Folkwang and the Dresden Art Fair), he became a member of the Berlin Academy in 1997 then subsequently was appointed professor at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee the following year. He spent a year in residency at the Cité des arts in Paris between 1996 and 1997.
His work has been shown in many important museums such as the Sprengel Museum in Hanover (1998), the Musée dArt et dHistoire in Neuchâtel in Switzerland (2000), le Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe (2003), as well as the Gemeentemuseum de La Haye (2008).
Nature: A Major Source of Inspiration
In parallel with his career as an agronomist engineer, Hanns Schimansky formed a strong relationship with nature and the natural world, which he expressed through his deep interest in drawing. Strongly influenced by the work of Johannes Müller, one of the most important XIXth-Century German physiologists, Schimanskys drawings evoke field patterns seen from above, the particular geometry of their organisation and the range of colours of the ploughed fields and surrounding hills.
A Permanent Search for Freedom
Walter Tschopp, curator for the visual arts at the Musée dArt et dHistoire in Neuchâtel, suggests that Schimanskys drawings are a form of narration that appeals to the imagination: fragile and almost impertinent lines, coming to rest on the black mass of a house, digging into the surface of the paper to describe a ditch, then sent flying into the air like a fantastic bird.
The artists unfettered search for freedom introduces the spectator to a whole world made up of undiscovered spaces, we are caught up and then released from a whirlpool of sensations, Schimanskys drawings bubble up and transmit their energy to us.
The Sculptured Drawings of Hanns Schimansky
Drawing as Mapping
The drawings made between 2007 and 2010 shown in the exhibition La Ligne Claire, are of various sizes, some as large as 1m50 wide. In the work shown, there is the underlying idea of a system of construction, a particular way of organising space.
We get the sense of an architectural drawing from Schimanskys work: the way he uses raw materials, paper, pencils and crayons, graphite and chalk, all serve to underline this feeling.
It is as if the drawing was sculpted by the thickness of the stroke, the choice of the paper, the way it is folded over on itself.
Schimansky rolls up, twists, pushes down with the point of the pencil, he energetically sculpts the paper, making networks with the folds he produces, and by folding and unfolding creates a dialogue between the tools he uses and the topography of the paper. The folding process creates in our imagination a system like that of mapping in relief.
The Rhythm of the Exhibition
Schimansky is deeply interested in improvised music, an influence which can be clearly seen in the rhythmic aspect of his drawings, simple and lively in the small-scale production, more ample in the larger pieces.
The artist moves back and forward through the picture planes as he draws, blotches in the foreground, shorter lines further back in the middle distance and far in the background, a just-perceived rhythm of fine lines.
Schimanskys works are full of movement, dizzying, just like waves or gusts of wind, sung landscapes as Véronique Jaeger describes them. It is as if the artist has given us a piece of sheet music for us to sight-read, transmitting his sense of the impossibility of seizing the immediacy of the present moment. In certain drawings the chalk marks turn and spiral around, making compositions that remind us of clouds, dancing and floating in space.