A peculiar characteristic of this new body of work of Tim Plamper is the exploration of physical experience and of nudity, reconsidered beyond the symbolical clothes left in a precarious balance between desire and cruelty. The artist caresses the phenomenology of disguised contact that Sigmund Freud redefines as rovescio bifronte (two-faced reversal): the touch of Eros and that of Thanatos envelop one another. ‘Bifronte’ comes from the Latin term bifrons, the nickname of Janus (Ianus in Latin), the god of material and immaterial thresholds.
He was usually depicted with two faces since he could look both towards the future and towards the past, both inside and outside. Such duality seems to dictate the rhythm of Tim Plamper’s entire work. The artist rethinks the artistic idealization of nudity, stripping and mixing it, to express ourselves as Georges Didi-Huberman does in his essay Ouvrir Venus (Opening Venus). Focusing on a critique of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1484-86), Didi-Huberman radically criticizes those who set forth and supported the desexualisation of the goddess. This way, they forgot her carnal aspect and purified her from erotism, making her become a “‘celestial’ and closed nude, a nude free of its own nudity, of her own (our) desires, of her own (our) modesty.” Moreover, Botticelli offers Didi-Huberman the possibility of verifying the link between exhibiting nudity and the cruel impulse towards “opening” and desecrating it.
One must thus find the trace of this hidden interchange, in which the touch of Thanatos clutches that of Eros and viceversa, within the Venus herself. It is an imperceptible yet extremely acute transition, during which being touched by the modest beauty of Venus is tantamount to being attracted and almost caressed by her image, while at the same time being struck by the recondite abyss that belongs to the very image. Tim Plamper glimpses the presence of menacing and unsettling aspects beyond the sober beauty of the goddess, and senses her dual nature.
He recognizes how she experiences an unsolvable dialectic between “Apollonian beauty and Dionysian violence, the touch of Eros and the touch of Thanatos”, gynaeceum and androceo (male space) . She places herself beyond this dialectic and works towards surpassing it. In Tim Plamper’s refined and meticulous drawings nudity appears like a door that leads us a to a room where beauty and cruelty are ineffably linked. The celebration of the marriage of life and death takes place in this room’s shadowy corners. Here almost every idealization and construction of the nude lets a hint of disorder and violence seep through. Tim’s works are “shaken” and this vibration represents what precedes and what follows such cruelty. The nude form is born of an aesthetic frenzy, while at the same time moving towards a confusion that renders the form shapeless, and turns this shapelessness into blood.
Domenico de Chirico
Translation from Italian into English by Iante Roach
Tim Plamper Zone Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve 09.09. – 07.10.2017 7 Rue Pastourelle 75003 Paris France
Tim Plamper Born in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany Lives and works in Berlin, Germany