We asked the internationally active church artist Tobias Kammerer a few questions and introduce his new book "... von der Poesie der Farben" (... on the poetry of colours).
1 The focus of your work is on "art in architecture". You use a wide variety of means of expression for this. Which area of art means the most to you or is the most important to you?
I see space painting as my passion. Here, as in the current Weinheim project, I can create 50-metre-long works of art in enormous heights and widths. I have been doing pioneering work in this field for 25 years and try to lead architects and communities to these emotional colour experiences.
2 Where does your interest and especially your talent for such a broad spectrum of art genres come from?
I grew up in the 5th generation as a painter. I started an apprenticeship as a painter in Vienna at the age of 14 and studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna at the age of 17. Out of pure interest I also studied sculpture there and worked in the master class for architecture. Here I acquired my profound tools of the trade, which I still draw on today.
3 What is the preparation phase of a project like? How long does a project last on average?
My projects run between one and 12 years. You have to convince a number of committees, and especially in the case of churches, that means the art commission, the liturgy commission, the finance chamber and of course the congregation itself. That takes its time.
4 What are often the biggest challenges?
For almost a century, our churches in Central and Northern Europe have been increasingly "whitewashed". People have become so accustomed to white rooms that it is difficult to talk about painted walls and ceilings, especially with architects, the situation has improved but is still difficult.
5 What has been your biggest/best project so far?
St Paul's Cathedral in Odessa, Ukraine. Here a 440 sqm ceiling painting, a 220 sqm mural, 43 large stained glass windows, liturgical furnishings of sandstone and aluminium castings, and paraments were created.
6 What has been the biggest challenge so far? Are there moments when you sometimes wish you had a different job?
My greatest challenge was my Stations of the Cross for St Mary's Cathedral in Hildesheim. I worked for 4 years on a sculptural solution for these 14 steel sculptures. The high-quality medieval furnishings and the extremely simple and aesthetic design at the end of the renovation phase required the utmost sensitivity; it was like open-heart surgery. Despite all the imponderables, it has never occurred to me to do anything else professionally. I live for art.
7 How does it feel when a work of art is completed?
We have once spoken on the phone when I saw my paintings in Weinheim for the first time without scaffolding. Yes, those are the moments for which it is worth going to all the trouble.
8 What would your dream project look like if you were allowed to wish for it?
I would love to design a space as an architect, painter and sculptor. Once I was allowed to realise this, the Christophorus Chapel in Dunningen came into being. If I had the opportunity again, I would also try to compose music for it, everything that makes up a total work of art.
9 What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love the amazement of the viewer when one enters the colour spaces. The sun should "rise", a positive aura is important to me. When I succeed, it makes me happy.
10 What excites you about our colours?
... the everlastingness.
11 Which is your favourite KEIM product?
The KEIM Design Line with colourwash, base and fixative.
12 A new book of your colour spaces will be published in December. Where can you buy it?
Published by Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg under the title: "...von der Poesie der Farben" (...on the poetry of colours). It has 672 pages and costs Euro 59,-.
In his new book '...von der Poesie der Farben' (...on the Poetry of Colours), Tobias Kammerer takes us across Europe, from Odessa to Kiev, Vienna, Passau, Kassel and Osnabrück. On almost 700 pages, colour spaces can be seen that bring old and new into harmony in a contemporary design. A delight for lovers of colour and architecture.
After almost a century without modern room paintings, Tobias Kammerer has thus created what is probably the most comprehensive oeuvre of contemporary room paintings for churches in the 21st century.
You can find a small book preview here: