CHARACTER IN IRON (1980)
Theo Niermeijer – NL.
While traveling in India, Tibet and China, Theo Niermeijer got fascinated by the ancient Chinese and Buddhist philosopy. This is reflected in his works. In his own words: ‘These images are an antidote to the misery from outside ruining your (inner) life”. The sculptures are a means to meditation – which is certainly true for Character in Iron.
Theo Niermeijer was an energetic man and an avid traveler. He followed various artists training in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Warsaw and traveled through North Africa, Iceland, the United States and the Middle and Far East.
One of his workshop was located in Amsterdam’s Zeeburg, in a location that is going to change much in the coming years: the contaminated area next to the new IJburg. A huge piece of land with sheds, cars in various states of decomposition, trucks and caravans. Hundreds of his sculptures stood inside and outside, between wrecks and nettles, leaning against trees and walls.
Images from an earlier period (totem poles, made up of horizontal ovals, with lunar and solar signs, spirals, hearts and mask-like faces) stood there rubbing up next to his new, more abstract images. Niermeijer called himself’the poet of schroot’. The material for his sculptures he found among other shipyards, where he collected the remains of metal-cutting machines.
Through his travels to India, Tibet and China, he fell under the spell of the ancient Chinese and Buddhist philosophy. Traces of this are reflected in his works on paper and in his sculptures. He immersed himself in the ceremonies of Buddhism, calling the gods. “It’s a kind of incantation, exorcism, the calls for protection.” Niermeijer made huge’blow-ups’ of tantra’s and mandala’s. “These images are an antidote to the misery from outside ruining your (Inner) life” They serve as a means of meditation.