Flora Zimmeter

Ingrid Gaier
From the opening speech for the exhibition In Schwebe, Essingerhaus Mödling

Flora Zimmeter closes the circle of floating. Her work “Stop motion” brings the ambivalent aspect of floating into the exhibition. In the series, dolls act whose actions we cannot categorise. Is it a game or is a catastrophe about to happen? The actions are frozen at the point where all options, positive and negative, are still open. They show a tipping point. Although these are screen prints, Flora Zimmeter counteracts the medium, which enables infinite repetitions. She uses exposure and colour control with the squeegee in such a way that she quotes unique pieces of early photography, which experimented with direct exposure, and her own handwriting with a brush. Found objects are placed directly on the coated screen and exposed; no film is used as an intermediate carrier. The squeegee is not applied to the screen evenly, but in different colour positions, so that the colour arrangement is a unique mixture each time, a screen print that quotes painting, and dolls that use harmless found material to play with, or that are celebrating a horror scenario, who knows? Everything is in limbo.

Manisha Jothady
from the catalogue „Kitzbühel & Sterzing/Vipiteno", p.114

The boundary between the private and the public sphere is far less permeable than social media might suggest. Away from the media-mediated display of one‘s own life, the observation of everyday life reveals the basic human need for privacy as well as the demarcation of personal terrain. Flora Zimmeter‘s photographs seem like a metaphor for this phenomenon in their excerpt-like concentration on wire mesh and lattice fences. As in other images from her „Camouflage“ series, a kind of substitute nature comes into play in her works for this exhibition: plastic tarpaulins printed with nature motifs and artificial ivy plants that seal off the view of people’s homes from the outside. Moreover, they refer to the gap between man and his natural environment.

Manisha Jothady
from the catalogue "Arbeitstitel Kunstbühel"

One of the most compelling qualities of photographs is the way that reality redoubles within them, yet we also often wonder if what we are seeing can even be true. Indeed, like no other medium, photography is able to go beyond simply documenting reality to also stage or manipulate it. Flora Zimmeter taps into the full potential of the medium in creating her photo series. In the past, for instance, she stages small dolls modeled on women figures from famous masterpieces, naming the series evolving from this work “Role Models” (2013-14). For “Paradise Lost” (2017), in turn, she took up the technique of digital photomontage. In both cases, she was challenging traditional cultural norms, ideals of beauty, and gender roles. Besides the photographs, she also regularly creates printed works on paper.

On view in the exhibition is now a selection of Zimmeter’s series “Camouflage”. It, too, deals in a way with standardized aesthetic perceptions. The photographs exhibited were taken in December 2019 in Kitzbühel and direct the gaze to something that is ostensibly unremarkable. Not until they are examined more closely do moments of irritation arise. We see a wall made of wood, its lower and appearing strangely flimsy and unstable. In a detail view, we see marks of wear that are not typical for any kind of wood on this planet. It is also surprising to note the peonies behind the chain-link fence in full bloom, considering the withered foliage. Or that the outside world settles like a haze over the landscape of moss. In this series, Flora Zimmeter makes us aware of the artificial staging of nature: a tarp with wood print concealing a restroom behind it, plastic flowers defying the change of seasons, and moss, though real, transferred to an unnatural setting as window decoration. Camouflage, deception, or disguise – a phenomenon that builds on imitation and the generation of illusion. It seems all the more noteworthy that the artist did not avail herself of any means of image alteration when creating the series. After all, everyday discovery and experience, as the series shows, have plenty of deceptively real things in store.

Hartwig Knack
from the catalogue „Designs and Realities", p.47

Almost two decades ago, Flora Zimmeter already dealt with garden fences, grids and hedges, which are meant to keep foreign glances away from private refuges, in her block of works entitled „Peripheral Idylls“. In her new series of photographs entitled „Camouflage“, fences, some covered with printed plastic film, others with planting grafted behind them, again form the motifs. The leaves, blossoms, and tendrils of the shrubs seem to enter into a kind of symbiosis with the industrially manufactured enclosures and together form the opaque border between inside and outside.

Hartwig Knack
from the catalogue „Schöner Wohnen", pp. 8,9

Flora Zimmeter‘s glances through hedges and fences often unearth bizarreness such as an inflatable sex doll hanging from a tree. With her extensive photo series „Peripheral Idylls“, the artist raises questions: Why do people place faux antique female figures and animal figurines such as lions or bulls, angels and garden gnomes on their property? Is there a need for a presentation of kitschy decorative objects? Is there a desire for representation or for display of trophies, symbols of dominance or masculinity? Do reminiscences of the 19th century play a role, a glamorous time in which stately villas in the Vienna Woods were en vogue? In the series of pictures „Tatort Thujenhecke“ (Crime scene: thuja hedge), Zimmeter gives free rein to her imagination and tells the story of the murder of a garden gnome in the form of a scenic sequence.

In the two-part works entitled „Hinter grünen Hecken läßt sich‘s gut verstecken“ (Hiding behind green hedges is easy), Zimmeter shows identical perspectives at different times of the year. In the summer months, the leafy borders are opaque; in winter, unexpected views and vistas open up, allowing us to look behind things that are otherwise hidden.

Berthold Ecker
from the catalogue „Pictures of Viennese", pp.8,9

… Flora Zimmeter also combines several individual shots into a pictorial whole, but with her bull‘s-eye-like views of people looking out, she nevertheless retains the sequential perception. The dissolution of the motif in extremely coarse grain implies the furtive act of perceiving those who lean against the window in such a typical manner, thus reinforcing the ironic effect of the „beautiful view.“