Art@Site Barnett Newman Zim Zum II Dusseldorf

Barnett Newman


Zim Zum II

step inside this artpiece
To step inside this artwork, you cannot be faint-hearted. You will be faced with the harshness, sharpness, loneliness and distress.
Zim Zum by Barnett Newman is standing next to a beautiful tall tree. This softens the picture. However if you focus on the artwork and you allow it in, you know that this artwork doesn’t have softness.
If you walk along this artwork, you can see shades of chesnut-braun to sugar-braun and earth-braun. While coming closer you can see the grains, flecks, and lines on the surface.
Standing in front of the opening, something unexpectedly happens: the planks were staggered compared to each other. First you seem to be pulled in on the right-side. A little further the space is getting is smaller but larger on the left-hand. If you walk slowly through the slices quickly the spaces are apparently created on the left-hand and right-hand side.
The sides of the boards seem to be sharp and hard. Barnett Newman has created spaces with Zim Zum which calls for loneliness and distress, only by the use of a simple rectangular plates.
By Theo,

stap in dit kunstwerk
Om in dit kunstwerk te stappen moet je stevig in je schoenen staan. Je wordt geconfronteerd met hardheid, scherpte, eenzaamheid, benauwdheid.
Zim Zum van Barnett Newman staat naast een prachtige hoge boom. Dit verzacht het beeld. Maar als je focust op het kunstwerk en dit laat binnenkomen, weet je dat dit kunstwerk geen zachtheid kent.
Als je langs dit beeld loopt, zie je kleurnuances van kastanjebruin naar suikerbruin en aardebruin. Dichterbij gekomen zie je de korrels, vlekken en lijnen van het oppervlakte.
Staande voor de opening gebeurt er iets onverwachts: de platen blijken verspringend tegenover elkaar te staan. Eerst lijk je naar rechts getrokken te worden. Iets verder gelopen wordt de ruimte aan de rechterkant kleiner, maar aan de linkerkant groter. Als je langzaam tussen de platen doorloopt blijken de platen snel ruimte aan de linker- en rechterkant te creëren.
De zijkanten van de platen lijken scherp en hard te zijn. Barnett Newman heeft met Zim Zum ruimte gecreëerd die eenzaamheid en benauwdheid oproepen, door gebruik van eenvoudige rechthoekige platen.
Door Theo,
»Drei Quadrate sind zunächst so angeordnet, dass ihre Diagonalen eine durchgehende Linie bilden. Diese Linie trennt die beiden aus je drei Dreiecken bestehenden Hälften, die nun im orthagonalen Raster um die Seitenlänge des Quadrats auseinandergerückt werden. [...] Da alle Scheitelpunkte der Winkel in einer Flucht liegen, ergibt sich [...] eine freie Passage im Zentrum, deren Breite der halben Diagonale der Ausgangsquadrate entspricht.« Text: A. Zweite, Barnett Newman: Bilder, Skulpturen, Graphik. Katalog zur Ausstellung der Kunstsammlung, 1997.
Barnett Newman zählt zu den führenden Vertretern der New York School und wurde mit seinem Beitrag zum Color Field Painting radikaler Pionier eines ganzheitlichen künstlerischen Ansatzes. In der Auseinandersetzung mit jüdischer Mystik schuf er meditative, "spirituelle" grossformatige Bildtafeln, die gekennzeichnet sind von einer extremen Reduktion zugunsten senkrecht organisierter, monochromer Farbbahnen. Sein in den 1960er Jahren entstandenes skulpturales Euvre umfasst nur sieben Arbeiten: monumentale Konstruktionen architektonischer Elementarkörper aus Stahl oder Bronze, die seinem malerischen Grundprinzip der ganzheitlichen Einzelform folgen. Text: KölnSkulptur, 1997.
Cortenstahl, 360 x 610 x 260 cm. Standort: westlich von der K21 Kunstsammlung NRW im Ständehaus an der Ständehausstrasse 1, nahe der Wasserstrasse. Der Begriff Zim Zum entstammt der kabbalistischen Lehre und bedeutet Kontraktion oder den Rückzug Gottes, der einen leeren Raum entstehen lässt. Die Erfahrung des leeren Raums kann der Besucher beim Durchschreiten der Skulptur machen: Er wird dabei auf sich selbst zurück geworfen. Eigentum: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 1994 erworben, 2002 aufgestellt. Posthume Version einer kleineren Arbeit, die 1969 entstand. Text: Rolf Purpar, 2009.

Contemporary Jewish Museum:
How did 7000 lbs of steel make their way from the sculpture garden of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Contemporary Jewish Museum? See Barnett Newman's sculpture "Zim Zum I" be lifted off SFMOMA's roof, learn about the Jewish meaning behind the piece, and see it find a new temporary home as a part of SFMOMA and CJM's collaborative exhibition "Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art."
Conceived in 1969, Barnett Newman’s large steel sculpture Zim Zum II was not realized at full scale until after his death and was not exhibited publicly until 1992. The work conflates the artist’s interest in Judaism, especially the Cabala and the Zohar and synagogue design, with the formal issues that he explored throughout his career in painting and sculpture.
In the Cabalistic tradition, Tzim Tzum is a term that refers to God’s self-contraction to make room for the expansion of creation.
Zim Zum II consists of two elements, each made with six 12-x-4-foot Cor-Ten steel plates 3/4 of an inch thick. The configuration of these component pieces is similar to that of the synagogue windows Newman designed in another project.... The sculpture’s two sections are positioned parallel to each other, but aligned so that each inward-directed angle in one element is set opposite an outward-directed angle in the other. The passage between the two is a uniform zigzag....
The seams are of Cor-Ten rod, the same material as the plates. The vertical bead is intentionally irregular, and it is left in a rough, unfinished state; the circular motion of the welding process is manifest, and the weld’s cragginess reveals the flowing quality of molten metal.
Before its first showing in 1992, Zim Zum II weathered outside for seven years. The steel surface was sandblasted before the sculpture was put outdoors. The rust forms patterns of streaks and waves and clusters, and infinite shadings of red and grey.
The sculpture is more inviting than imposing. There is a sense of quiet within the two walls, a sense of an epic journey in walking about the sculpture’s exterior.Text: Erik Saxon, “Steel Cosmogony,”, Art in America, 1992.
Barnett Newman (January 29, 1905 – July 4, 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters. His paintings are existential in tone and content, explicitly composed with the intention of communicating a sense of locality, presence, and contingency.
Barnett Newman:’What is the explanation of the seemingly insane drive of man to be painter and poet if it is not an act of defiance against man's fall and an assertion that he return to the Garden of Eden? For the artists are the first men.’
Newman wrote catalogue forewords and reviews and also organized exhibitions before becoming a member of the Uptown Group and having his first solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948. Soon after his first exhibition, Newman remarked in one of the Artists' Session at Studio 35: "We are in the process of making the world, to a certain extent, in our own image." Utilizing his writing skills, Newman fought to reinforce his newly established image as an artist and to promote his work. An example is his letter on April 9, 1955, "Letter to Sidney Janis: ... it is true that Rothko talks the fighter. He fights, however, to submit to the philistine world. My struggle against bourgeois society has involved the total rejection of it."
Throughout the 1940s he worked in a surrealist vein before developing his mature style. This is characterized by areas of color separated by thin vertical lines, or "zips" as Newman called them. In the first works featuring zips, the color fields are variegated, but later the colors are pure and flat. Newman himself thought that he reached his fully mature style with the Onement series (from 1948). The zips define the spatial structure of the painting, while simultaneously dividing and uniting the composition. Already 1944 Barnett Newman tried to explain America's newest art movement and included a list of "the men in the new movement." Ex-Surrealists, like Matta are mentioned, Wolfgang Paalen Paalen is mentioned twice together with Gottlieb, Rothko, Pollock, Hofmann, Baziotes, Gorky and others. Motherwell is mentioned with a question mark. The zip remained a constant feature of Newman's work throughout his life. In some paintings of the 1950s, such as The Wild, which is eight feet tall by one and a half inches wide (2.43 meters by 4.1 centimeters), the zip is all there is to the work. Newman also made a few sculptures which are essentially three-dimensional zips.
Although Newman's paintings appear to be purely abstract, and many of them were originally untitled, the names he later gave them hinted at specific subjects being addressed, often with a Jewish theme. Two paintings from the early 1950s, for example, are called Adam and Eve. There is also Uriel (1954), and Abraham (1949), a very dark painting which, as well as being the name of a biblical patriarch, was also the name of Newman's father, who had died in 1947.
The Stations of the Cross series of black and white paintings (1958–1966), begun shortly after Newman had recovered from a heart attack, is usually regarded as the peak of his achievement. The series is subtitled Lema sabachthani - "Why have you forsaken me" - the last words spoken by Jesus on the cross, according to the New Testament. Newman saw these words as having universal significance in his own time. The series has also been seen as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
Newman's late works, such as the Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue series, use vibrant, pure colors, often on very large canvases - Anna's Light (1968), named in memory of his mother who had died in 1965, is his largest work, 28 feet wide by 9 feet tall (8.5 by 2.7 meters). Newman also worked on shaped canvases late in life, with Chartres (1969), for example, being triangular, and returned to sculpture, making a small number of sleek pieces in steel. These later paintings are executed in acrylic paint rather than the oil paint of earlier pieces. Of his sculptures, Broken Obelisk (1963) is the most monumental and best-known, depicting an inverted obelisk whose point balances on the apex of a pyramid.
Newman also made a series of lithographs, the 18 Cantos (1963–64) which, according to Newman, are meant to be evocative of music. He also made a small number of etchings.
Newman is generally classified as an abstract expressionist on account of his working in New York City in the 1950s, associating with other artists of the group and developing an abstract style which owed little or nothing to European art. However, his rejection of the expressive brushwork employed by other abstract expressionists such as Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko, and his use of hard-edged areas of flat color, can be seen as a precursor to post painterly abstraction and the minimalist works of artists such as Frank Stella.
Newman was unappreciated as an artist for much of his life, being overlooked in favour of more colorful characters such as Jackson Pollock. The influential critic Clement Greenberg wrote enthusiastically about him, but it was not until the end of his life that he began to be taken seriously. He was, however, an important influence on many younger artists such as Donald Judd, Frank Stella and Bob Law.