Timo Grimm: Local Exoticism

21 January - 11 February 2023

Timo Grimm (b. 1990,Hamburg) is a young German painter whose practice is primarily concerned with the possibilities offered by traditional media in the age of globalization and digitalization. In a way, his art is a counter-reaction to the production of digital images.


Grimm’s works are illusions. On the first view, his works appear to be broken tiles based on Dutch 17th century examples, but on a closer inspection what we see is a painting in oil on canvas. This material confusion is triggered by real cracks across the paintings. These cracks are the result of a complex construction of the frame, which was broken into pieces, then stretched individually and put together again. Through this unique and complicated process of disassembling and reconstruction of essentially basic materials, the wooden frame and canvas, the viewer’s attention is brought to the possibilities of the medium itself. 


Grimm’s unique method is a contra-position to a new era of art making, which often relies on digital or technological mediums for development. In contrast to many contemporary painters, Grimm’s process is based solely on traditional materials and media. In his formally chanced canvases he brings a new narration to traditional imagery. Grimm works to acknowledge the craftsmen and artisans of the past who imitated and adopted images from art prints and science books. In a way, Grimm employs these same methods as those before him: he picks up aspects from their work and connects them in a new way, passing them on and giving them new meaning.


In his newest works Grimm explores the phenomenon of exoticism. This is particularly significant in the series "A beautiful fragment of a horrible image", where Grimm uses excerpts from a tile tableau from the 1700s that is currently exhibited in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The image shows a detailed Chinese landscape with men, women and warriors on horseback partaking in a grievous battle. Grimm is deeply interested in the motifs and imagery portrayed in this tableau and he has chosen to focus in on several of the smaller details for this recent series of paintings. The influences are subtle and indirect, adding intrigue in the artist’s same signature style.

Installation Views