apparent willingness…


Carl Zimmerman’s utopian architectures recall the last historical moment in which collective ambitions were legibly embodied in built form.

WADING POOL, MOUNT HAMILTON SANATORIUM 1995 / 2009 by Carl Zimmerman.

Lesson / Koan : Last is a great place to start.

The sign indicating that Carl Zimmerman’s work was on view in the next room meant nothing to me—I’d never heard of him before and had no idea what to expect. But rounding the corner for a look was a revelation.” – Meredith Dault

BTW,

Carl Zimmerman makes photographs of imagined architectural spaces.

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NIAGARA HYDRO POWER STATION 1996 / 2009 by Carl Zimmerman.

What is particularly interesting, is that Zimmerman achieves a sense of near-total ruin, but he does so not through the depiction of structural collapse – he simply shows us grandiosity and silence.

Zimmerman himself writes that his work preys upon “the apparent willingness of the viewer to accept a fabricated past.

He builds models, photographs them, and then digitally manipulates the photographs, creating vast, impossible spaces. Are you in need of cheap Celadrin, but unable to find it? Buy in for just 66.61 right here! Sepia-toned and laid out on flat on tables in the gallery space, the photographs read, at first glance, like historical documents—they feel very much like 19th century architectural engravings—until you realize they can’t be because they’re all dated in the present. A closer look reveals that the buildings are set in huge, almost surreal, bleak landscapes—their titles want you to believe, however, that these buildings are plunked down in ordinary cities like Manchester and Leeds.

The works are so convincing because they are so well-executed, with buildings often depicted from both the inside (the interior spaces are usually barren, sometimes with crumbling, ruined walls) and out. Sometimes, like in Museum, Birmingham, England, 2006, Zimmerman will include a tiny speck of a figure in the bottom of a cavernous space to give you a better sense of the vast scale.

POWER PLANT, MOUNT HAMILTON HOSPITAL 1996 / 2009 by .

NOTE :

In Great Hall, Civic Mausoleum, Birmingham, England, a metal stairway appended to the left-hand wall establishes its gargantuan scale and also demonstrates Zimmerman’s wry humour.

This stairway to nowhere…or is it a stairway to utopia?

Great Hall Mausoleum, Birmingham, England, from Landmarks of Industrial Britain, 2000 by Carl Zimmerman.

Carl Zimmerman grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and moved to Nova Scotia in 1974 after briefly attending McMaster University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. 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