Born in Quixada (Brazil), 1953

Luzia SIMONS studied history then art at the Sorbonne in Paris and now lives in Berlin. Her works have an international reputation, thanks to exhibitions in museums around the world and acquisitions by many public collections in Germany, Brazil, Cuba, France, United Kingdom. She was exhibited in Chaumont sur Loire in 2017 and 2019. She works on the theme of plants and nature in transition. She developed a very specific personal technique by scanning a composition of flowers and constructing a remarkable realistic and sensitive picture.

2019 Luzia Simon Portrait


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FORMATION1977 – 1981 : Licence d’Histoire, Université Paris VIII Vincennes (France)
1984 – 1986 : Etudes d’Arts Plastiques, Université Paris I Sorbonne (France)

2021 : Artists’ Conquest, Castle & Park Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany
Brasilidade Pós-Modernismo, CCBB, Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, Brazil
Rohkunstbau – Ich bin Natur, Castle Lieberose, Lieberose/Spreewald, Germany
2019 : Stockage, Museum Experimental Gallery at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China (solo)
Naturgeschichten, Museum im Kleihues-Bau, Kornwestheim, Germany (solo)
Mil Flores, 2019 Art Season, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
B.A.R.O.C.K., Castle Caputh, Schwielowsee, Germany
Nature in Art, MOCAK, Krakow, Poland
2018 : Between Exploration and Revelation, Sanya Museum of Contemporary Art, Sanya, China (solo)
Biennale De Mains De Maîtres, Luxemburg
It Smells Like… Flowers & Fragrances, me Collectors Room / Stiftung Olbricht, Berlin, Germany
2017 : Blacklist Video, 2017 Art Season, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
Curitiba Biennial ’17, Antípodas – Diverso e Reverso, Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Curitiba, Brazil
Schön vergänglich – Blumen in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Kallmann Museum Ismaning, Germany
2016 : Vanitas Rerum, Cour de Hôtel de Soubises, Archives Nationales, Paris, France (solo)
Jardim, 2016 Art Season, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
O útero do mundo, MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil
Schnittmengen – Zeitgenössische Kunst und die Überlieferung, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Museen Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
2014 : Limiares – Joaquim Paiva collection, MAM Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Blütezeit, DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Frankfurt, Germany
2013 : Segmentos, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
Fremde Gärten, Kunstverein Bamberg, Germany (solo)
Curitiba Biennial ’13, XX, Curitiba, Brazil
Wenn Wünsche wahr werden, Kunsthalle Emden, Germany
Flowers and Mushrooms, Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg, Austria
2012 : Beauty | Flowers in Photography, Tokyo Art Museum, Japan
2011 : Blumen – Zeitgenössische Fotografie, Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung, Berlin, Germany
Bloemen!, Museum de Buitenplaats, Eelde, The Netherlands
LEBEN elementar, Festival Fototage Trier 2010 in Berlin, Germany
2010 : Gabriele Muenter Preis, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
Wild Things, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark

Germany : Galerie Schlichtenmaier (Stuttgart)
Galerie Andreas Binder (Munich)
Alexander Ochs Private (Berlin)
Circle Culture (Berlin)
Switzerland : Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie (Zurich)
Denmark : Galerie Mikael Andersen, (Copenhague)
Slovenia : Galerija Fotografija (Ljubljana)
USA : The Moving Gallery (Omaha, NE)
Brazil : Bolsa de Arte, Porto Alegre, São Paulo
Nara Roesler , São Paulo
Carbono, São Paulo

Germany : Deutscher Bundestag (Berlin) ; DZ Bank Kunstsammlung (Francfort); Kunsthalle Emden ; Graphische Sammlung der Staatsgalerie (Stuttgart) ; Kupferstich-Kabinett der Staatl. Kunstsammlungen (Dresde) ; Regierungspräsidium des Landes (Baden-Württemberg) ; Graphothek der Stadtbücherei (Stuttgart) ; Artothek Fellbach ; Ernst & Young (Stuttgart) ; Deutsche Leasing AG (Bad Homburg) ; Sparkasse Werra-Meißner (Eschwege-Witzenhausen) ; Sparkasse Siegen ; Kreissparkasse Euskirchen ; Landesbank Baden–Württemberg ; Deutscher Sparkassen Verlag
Brasil : Museu de Arte Sacra (Belém) ; Coleção Joaquim Paiva (Rio de Janeiro) ; Pirelli/ Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Cuba : Casa de las Américas (La Havane) ; Centro Wifredo Lam (La Havane)
Denmark : Ny Carlsbergfondet (Copenhague) ; Dansk Bibliotekscenter
France : Fonds National d’Art Contemporain Paris-Ile de France ; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain, Basse-Normandie, France ; Artothèque de Caen ; Artothèque de Grenoble, Artothèque de Auxerre
United Kingdom : Collection University Colchester (Essex)

BIBLIOGRAPHY (selection)
2021 : Luzia Simons : Traces , Distanz Verlag, Berlin
2016 : Luzia Simons : Installations in situ , Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie, Zurich
2012 : Luzia Simons : Luzia Simons , Distanz Verlag, Berlin
2007 : Luzia Simons : Stockage , Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH, Berlin
2003 : Luzia Simons : Transit , Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern-Ruit
1998 : Luzia Simons (Camera Obscura), Verlag der Allerheiligenpresse, Innsbruck ans Fotografie Forum international, Frankfurt/Main


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Beauty mission

In art, we sometimes feel like we are in a sort of Garden of Eden. After all, isn’t over-aesthetic postmodernity forced to wrap its changing and pluralistic discourses in “green” language? In “floral” terms, spring is particularly beautiful when it has surprises in store for the gardener, despite the fact that we cannot find words flowery enough to attenuate the radicality of freedom and the super-ego; Edouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and others have successfully proven this.

In the scannograms of Luzia Simons, beauty rushes along fine stems to live its last moments in the pathos of the ephemeral, imposing the idea that the desire for happiness must remain a desire and that death inevitably demands its of. One could believe that these images participate in a rite of desire supposed to erase the ephemeral, while also cementing it by means of the sagacious quotes they contain.

Here, a tulip opens its flower, with its aura as its essential desire, to immerse us in a brief fantastic moment where events fade into the darkness of the background, so that attention struggles at all. grasp it and the gaze, slightly euphoric, takes refuge in the contours. There, the petals – gleaned not from photographic archives, but taken out of a vase to be placed directly on the scanner – undergo peaceful deformations revealing the secret drama that plays out in nature: the silent mortal struggle which sees the fruits perish and the flowers wither.

It is the pathos of the ephemeral that dominates each of these images by Luzia Simons – the mourning of a splendor that has already passed despite appearances, a hymn to Eros and Thanatos. We must then adapt our desires for romance to reality, knowing that real disasters always take place in the shadows.

Flowers cannot grow forever. The unalterable beauty that Luzia Simons attempts to infuse into her images to combat the passing of time evokes the attraction exerted by the ephemeral nature of all life, but also the softness and harmony that emerge from nowhere, then return to the nothing. Memory becomes a driving category of art. It explicitly becomes a subject.

Exceptional for the richness of the chiaroscuro, almost baroque in style, the scannograms of Luzia Simons seem to pay homage to the painting of Francisco de Zurbarán, with this difference that the existence of the tulips sifted through a scanner has a sound , a melody extracted from silence and delivered to the din of the metropolis before returning to silence. This is why the staging of the artist’s exhibition in Studio 2 of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, completed by an ornamental mosaic on the floor made up of Turkish delights, exudes absolute serenity, also satisfying itself with a few works sparingly arranged on the walls of the space.

In that they belong to the domain of the unheard, the artist’s images show a sphere of seclusion, something exceptional, whose energetic power is underlined in particular by Friedrich Hölderlin in “Hyperion”, when he attempts to detect the mark of God in sublime beauty. The work of those for whom beauty constitutes a true mission is readily accused of being vain. But only he who believes in the beauty of nature is able to idolize flowers.

Many artists and art theorists of the 20th century emphasized that beauty was an implicit tendency in art. Herbert Marcuse once concluded a lecture with these words: “He who refutes beauty in art is reactionary in an objective sense[i]. » It is important to safeguard the independence of aesthetic categories, even when individual works of art deny it. To tell the truth, art constantly oscillates between the appearance of things and their negation. It is nevertheless necessary to differentiate between beauty which is articulated through aesthetic form (that is to say even when ugliness is exposed) and beauty which is sought in a demonstrative way, namely in the affect of the spectator.

If Barnett Newman sees the drive to denigrate beauty as the driving force behind modern art, then Luzia Simons belongs to an artistic faction that refuses the precept of radical negation. On the contrary, it locates knowledge and the broadening of the perceptual field in a “renewal” (in the sense given to it by Jean Clair), in the rebirth of aesthetic categories discredited by avant-gardism. Through this innovative appreciation of the notion of “baroque”, his images articulate an interest, both old and new, in beauty and grace, and hence, in categories contrary to the radical avant-garde aesthetic of the subversion and negation: the spirit of negation is thus turned around to become positive.

Luzia Simons is reluctant to endure the present like a snowstorm. Hedonistic references to the present moment, his images, through their strong aesthetic, plead for the accomplishment of beauty and truth in the moment – for a “Paradise now”.

Christoph Tannert


Since the beginning of her journey, Luzia Simons has sought forms of expression that convey cultural transfer. Identity as a socio-cultural concept is at the heart of his works. It was her own uprooting that led her to think about the transfer of customs and lifestyles as well as the way in which leaving the country of origin modifies cultural identity. This reflection is at the origin of his works, his projects, his exhibitions. To materialize her thoughts, observations and experiences in the form of a narration of her own subjective cartography, Luzia Simons chose the visual arts and their visual aspect. In doing so, it has made a vast differentiation which carries with it traces of the sixty-eight movement, from the era extending from the end of the Cold War to the current situation of the post-colonial era. But most of Luzia Simons’ works are marked by her nomadic life. They include many cultures. The complexity of this context leads to many doubts and questions. However, Luzia Simons’ experience is not isolated: all these uncertainties are also shared by other protagonists of current society and are particularly studied in depth by ethnologists and anthropologists: “But how, at the time of the ‘global village’, can the individual arrange the world in the sense of an active native land, how can he find and invent viable ways of inhabiting it and feeling at home? Globalization amounts to processes of increasing and rapid formation of international networks not only in economics and politics, but also in all areas of the life of every human being. What we eat and drink, how we dress, what music we listen to, where we travel and how we communicate are all taking on increasingly global dimensions, but also transforming things on a global level. local. »

In the case of Luzia Simons, however, there is no moment of despair. His subjective maps include his own personal archives in symbiosis with a changing world – and this duo is transposed into his works. Dexterity, curiosity, humor, inventiveness, experimentation and a pronounced aesthetic – this is what characterizes his work. As an observer and artist willing to take risks, she captures traces of her daily life from the start using unconventional techniques. The Caméra Obscura series produced between 1987 and 1997 is an example. Using a pinhole camera that she built herself, she creates black and white still lifes and nudes governed by powerful contrasts between light and shadow. “The effect of his images is that of observation, even if something unheard of could happen. This potential change of the image is expressed both by its fragmentation and in the stopping of the action in time precisely at the moment containing the representation of the change in the future.

Created in the mid-1990s, Hinter den Spiegeln (Behind the Mirrors) is a group of works offering distorted female representation. The image evokes crazy bodies with altered form. The title refers to the technique used to take these shots: the models are photographed through a distorting mirror. Luzia Simons voluntarily distances herself from the faithful rendering of nature and offers the viewer a non-existent reality, as if the character represented merged for an instant with the being inhabiting her unconscious – and that he animated it.

In 1999, Luzia Simons developed the Transit series, which has a strong autobiographical character. These are collages of pages taken from his passports and official papers from Brazil, France and Germany, in reference to his own identity. The 32 digital collages of the Transit series represent a discourse on the manageability of individual, social and cultural identity. The conceptual unveiling of ornamental security principles around his person here follows the artistic logic of a fragmentation of scanned passports, especially in macro mode; this fragmentation which allows us to see beyond all prescribed structures, and especially beyond any assertion of objectivity. By defusing the identity control carried out by powerful states on the geopolitical level, the artist also pursues an ironic objective: “My cultural interest was to link together, on a graphic and photographic level, the surprisingly similar ornamentations of papers of very diverse identity and value, where the claim of the respective State to the value of its documents and the representation of its power is the same each time. »

The exhibition Face Migration – Sichtvermerke (Face Migration – Visas), which was held in 2002 at the Württembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart in collaboration with the Südwestrundfunk, is also the result of photographic research within the framework of which Luzia Simons took portraits of one hundred people representing all immigrants from Baden-Württemberg. Not only does the artist photograph the protagonists of this comprehensive work of art, but she also portrays their identities, their nationalities, and their marked mobility within the dominant bureaucracy and culture. Simons thus expresses their visibility within society and their recognition by it. The photo collages with the portraits were purposefully placed in the dirt path on the east and west sides of the museum. The artist says on this subject: “The alley as a passage, or even as a dead end, with a transparent exhibition surface which represents the transfer from the inside to the outside and vice versa. »

It was in 1996 that Luzia Simons began her most significant series entitled Storage. Since then, she has tirelessly developed new pictorial modalities by scanning severe arrangements of tulips which evoke the still lifes of the Flemish Baroque. In Simons’ work, the tulip is a metaphor for migration, cultural transfer, and the ephemeral nature of life. The artist takes a unique look at this emblematic flower, today perceived as typically Dutch. In reality, the tulip comes from the steppes of Kazakhstan, from where it arrived at the court of the Ottoman Empire, to become the symbol of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul. In the 17th century, it was introduced to Europe in the form of a luxurious and prestigious commodity; its bulbs were the subject of speculation there which reached its peak during the crash of the Amsterdam Tulip Stock Exchange. It is precisely this cultural transfer marked by multi-culturalism, represented by the tulip, which is at the heart of Simons’ artistic production, a cultural symbol of exchange and integration.

We discover in his work a symbiosis of components of a world order marked until 2020 by globalization. Today, the fact that we live in a denser networked world, despite the imposed geographical distance, is much more perceptible. My world is your world, my water is your water, my air is your air. In 2014 and 2017, Luzia Simons undertook study trips to the banks of the Amazon in order to feel the intensity and identity of the virgin forest. Numerous series of works by the artist – such as photographs, videos, drawings and installations – were born from this experience. Simons wanted to convey the complexity of the virgin forest: the colors, the light, the movement, the fascinating sounds, the humid climate. Audiovisual supports allow us to perceive the power of the Amazon current under the influence of various sediments, which reveals the mechanisms of the Amazon ecosystem, which refreshes and humidifies the global atmosphere through the large quantity of humidity that evaporates. The works of the Amazonas series act as a requiem for the virgin forest, endangered by rising temperatures and changing precipitation.

The pandemic triggered by man’s interference in nature also underlines the strong human influence on the origin of life and the dependence of men in this regard. In this introspective context, the artist returns to works on paper to reflect on nature – drawings and watercolors of great subtlety mark his relationship with natural elements, just as ephemeral as humanity. The experience of current circumstances clearly shows that men are becoming more and more aware of the essences of life. Exactly like the book Traces by Luzia Simons does: “Life we have trivialized, so that people don’t even know what it is, and think it’s just a word. Just like there are the words “wind”, “fire”, “water”, people think there can be the word “life”, but that is not the case. Life is transcendence, it is beyond the dictionary, it has no definition.