Christian Lemmerz

Biography of Christian Lemmerz

The German artist Christian Lemmerz is almost impossible to categorize—he is an enigma who has not only mastered filmmaking, performance, painting, and drawing, but is also recognized as one of the greatest stonemasons of modern times.


Educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Christian Lemmerz cofounded the collaborative workshop Værkstedet Værst for performance art. Embracing unpalatable subject matter such as illness and death, Lemmerz experiments with the aesthetics of the material. Contradictory and provocative, Lemmerz brings in elements of kitsch, death, and obscenity and incorporates complex issues from philosophers like Kant and Heidegger. It has been said that his work can be "characterized by aesthetics of effect", indeed Lemmerz' artworks always demand more than just idle contemplation from the viewer.


Christian Lemmerz believes that art only works when it is confrontational, and sculpture—with its relation to the human body—is particularly effective in this regard. The artist thus engages the viewer as participants by provoking their tactile and visual faculties. His use of organic and perishable materials such as blood and excrement combined with traditional and seductive materials such as plaster, marble, and bronze is a bold confrontation of more traditional forms of sculpture.


Christian Lemmerz worked as a scenographer for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant in 1996 as well as Steven Berkoff's film Brok in 1994. In 2009 Lemmerz was awarded the highly prestigious Thorvaldsen Medal for his exceptional achievement in sculpture. Born in 1959, Lemmerz has exhibited at the Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark and the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen.

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