Heinz Zolper

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Heinz Zolper

Heinz Zolper: A Pioneer in Figurative Painting and Social Advocacy

Early Life and Education

Born in 1949 in Cologne, Heinz Zolper pursued his artistic studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the University of Applied Arts Cologne during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Championing Tolerance, Women’s Rights, and Equality

Renowned for his commitment to tolerance and social justice, Heinz Zolper stands as a solitary figure in the art world, collaborating with diverse personalities such as Milva, Udo Kier, Mae West, Russ Meyer, Rainer Fassbender, and Andy Warhol. Zolper’s unique style and thematic focus predated the resurgence of figurative painting, offering a fresh perspective after years dominated by abstraction.

The Iconography of the “Dame”

Zolper’s art revolves around the motif of the “Dame,” a stylized bust reminiscent of Madonna, serving as a potent symbol for women’s rights and gender equality. This iconography reflects his staunch advocacy for social progress and recognition of the vital roles played by women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Cultural Influence and Collaboration

Emerging from the vibrant artistic scene of Rhineland, particularly Cologne in the 1960s and 1970s, Zolper’s work was deeply influenced by the city’s open social atmosphere. He is regarded alongside luminaries such as Joseph Beuys, Sigmar Polke, Georg Herold, Albert Oehlen, and Martin Kippenberger, contributing significantly to the contemporary art movement.

Expanding Boundaries: Artistic Exploration and Social Commentary

Zolper’s oeuvre encompasses a wide array of themes and styles, from humorous compositions to historical references, reflecting his deep engagement with cultural heritage and contemporary issues. Notable among his series is the exploration of high culture motifs juxtaposed with everyday imagery, offering a nuanced commentary on society and globalization.

Beyond Painting: Multifaceted Artistry

While primarily a painter, Zolper’s artistic expression extends beyond traditional canvas boundaries. Photography, graphics, video, and sculpture serve as mediums for his continued exploration of painting’s essence and its interaction with other art forms.

Legacy and Influence

Heinz Zolper’s legacy transcends borders, embodying the spirit of internationalism and artistic collaboration. His enduring friendship and collaboration with Andy Warhol exemplify his impact on both German and American culture, with joint projects serving as tributes to their shared artistic vision.

Continued Social Engagement

In addition to his artistic endeavors, Zolper remains deeply engaged in socio-cultural projects, including the exploration of themes such as the nature of evil and the reconciliation of values. His work serves as a testament to the power of art in addressing complex societal issues and fostering dialogue and understanding.

Exhibitions and purchases of Heinz Zolper

New gallery collection Ludwig Aachen, Collection of the Venice Biennale, Poeticas visualis Sao Paulo Biennale, MoMa NYC Palazzo collection, Documenta-Pavilion Atlantis, Mariposa Teneriffa, Museum am Ostwall, Art Collection of the State of N.R.W, Landesmuseum Bonn, Picker Gallery at Colgate University, Museum König Bonn, Paper Museum Zander, Diocesan Museum Bamberg, Museum Ludwig, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, PAC Austria, Collection Neue Galerie Graz, Gallery Hans-Jürgen Müller, Michael Horbach Foundation Cologne, Winter Stiftung Hamburg, Pittsburg Collection, Bayer – Werke, Kanzleramt Chancelor Gerhard Schroeder, Artforum collection, collection Wladimir Semjonowitsch Semjonow.

Public projects:
i.a. Reconciliation of Values, Atlantis, World Cup, Millenium 2000, Gulf Projects, Dresden Frauenkirche, Marathon 2004, Dame chair, Dame for love and respect

Literature (selection):
Versöhnung der Werte | Reconciliation of Values, Heinz Zolper (ger/en). Ed. P. Materie |L. Safiriou, ArtForum Editions 2023
Heinz Zolper – Magic of Painting  | Magie der Malerei /oder/ wie es ist Du selbst zu sein. Paintings 1979 – 2019. (ger/en) Monograph 2019, Re-edition 2022
Remember the Future, Zolper – Public Sculptures (ger/en). Ed. O. Safiriou |L. Safiriou, ArtForum Editions  2021
Principle of the Evil |Da Prinzip des Bösen, Works by Heinz Zolper. (ger/en). O. Safiriou, ed. P. Merten, 2019, New edition  2021/22, ArtForum Editions.

Heinz Zolper
Winter Foundation. Hamburg
Kunstform international
ArtForum Editions
Reconciliation of Values