Art With a Global Perspective - Franz Ackermann | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 11.04.2002
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Art With a Global Perspective - Franz Ackermann

Franz Ackermann is one of Germany's most successful contemporary artists. He is now representing Germany and his hometown Berlin at the most important art fair in Latin America, the Biennial in São Paulo/Brazil.


Sao Paulo is the kind of metropolis that will inspire Franz Ackermann

Franz Ackermann is an artist in constant motion. He lives and works in Berlin but also teaches at the Karlsruhe's College of Art. The two cities are at opposite ends of Germany: Berlin is in the north-east, Karlsruhe in the south-west. So Ackermann is on the road a lot.

Franz Ackermann is fascinated with mobility: Being in one place today and somewhere completely different tomorrow. What does that do to a person? And how does a person change the places he or she has been to?

Travel – Tourism - Globalization

Born in 1963, Ackermann is today regarded as one of Germany's most important contemporary artists. He has shown his works in art galleries in Europe, North and South America.

In one of his first shows, he painted the words "Tourists are Money" in big black letters across the walls of the gallery. Since then, he has repeatedly touched upon issues like travel, tourism and globalization in his works.

Being a modern-day nomad himself, he's spent many a night in anonymous hotel rooms. It is during these stays at different hotels that he started creating his "Mental Maps" – small drawings that'll fit into a suitcase.

Each of the "Mental Maps" reflects the city he's staying in, combining the external reality of a location with his subjective feelings about that place. They show abstract bands of vibrant color but also recognizable shapes such as architectural details or parts of maps. They are intimate visual journals of a world-traveler.

Versatile artist

Over the years, Franz Ackermann has painted, sculpted and used photography in his art. He also freely combines these forms of artistic expression in his works.

These days, he's most noted for his large colorful murals. And it's this kind of work that Ackermann is now showing at the Biennial in São Paulo, the most important art fair in Latin America.

This year's Biennial features 190 artists from 70 countries. Its central theme is Iconografias Metropolitanas or Metropolitan Iconographies.

Eleven cities from around the globe have sent five artists each to give an idea of what's happening in their arts scenes. Among the "11 Metropolises" are São Paulo, New York, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow and Berlin.

Franz Ackermann is one of the contemporary German artists representing Berlin.