Skip to content

Fotos: Klaudia Taday

Crossover Painting / Metafoto.
After studying Fine Arts in Cologne and Visual Communication in Düsseldorf, Martina Ziegler, who graduated with a degree in design, initially pursued an international career as a multi-award-winning art and creative director. After an aesthetic preoccupation with the world as it should be, Martina Ziegler now shows what could be: Since 2010, she has devoted herself exclusively to free art.

In 2015, the concept of Multiple Portraits was born. At the core of her „Crossover Painting“ approach is what unites her claim to art and advertising: a unique concept. In the beginning, there is a naturalistically painted portrait on canvas, but consisting of facial fragments of different people. It symbolizes the different sides of the individual. This is digitally deconstructed, whereby the digital „DNA“ data of the painting (as an allegory to the DNA of the human being) is transformed and potentiated.

From the painted archetype, the „mother matrix“, a multitude of „multiples“ – and in the further development – „abstract portraits“ are created, which the artist understands as „daughters“ or „cousins“ of her mother matrix. This not only creates a bond between the individual subjects, they come to life:
Their DNA lives on in ever new works.

Art education
Studies: Liberal Arts / International University of Applied Sciences for Art and Design, Cologne. Internship: Glasmalerei Henseler, Cologne
(restoration of cathedral windows).

Studies: Visual Communication / University of Applied Sciences, Düsseldorf (Graphic Design, Photography, Illustration). Graduation:
Diploma in Design (1.0)

Art and Creative Director with focus on film for agencies (artistic, Europe-wide lead, member of the board).

Various stays abroad (concerning my artistic topic – role images of women).
Tokyo / experience in a Japanese corporate culture.
Istanbul, Izmir / several weeks of collaboration with a Turkish creative director.
Miami, Los Angeles / collaboration with a US female director.
Casablanca, Marrakech, Erfoud (Sahara) / film project of several weeks in an Islamic country.
New York / independent collaboration with a film producer.
London, Milan, Vienna, Barcelona, Paris / transnational European film project.
Numerous awards and creative awards for design, artwork and film.

2001 – 2010: freelance artistic activity in the field of painting and experimental graphics. Sideline as freelancer in the fields of design, fashion and architecture. Since 2010: exclusively artistic freelance work.

Mitglied im Verein der Düsseldorfer Künstlerinnen e.V.
Mitglied im Verein der Düsseldorfer Künstler e.V.
Galerien: Ludwig Kleebolte, Essen / Schmalfuss, Berlin / Sight Galerie und Kunstberatung, Offenbach / Kunst + Co., Amstelveen (NL)

Exhibitions (Selection)
06 / 2023 Participation OpenSpaceGallery, 63 artists outdoor, Düsseldorf
05 / 2023 Groupshow „Abstrakt“, Galerie Michael W. Schmalfuß, Marburg
02 / 2023 Groupshow „Abstrakt“, Galerie Schmalfuß Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin
12 / 2022 Teilnahme Heartbreaker Auktion, K21, Düsseldorf
05 / 2022 Teilnahme Heartbreaker Auktion, K21, Düsseldorf
05 / 2022 111 Jahre Düsseldorfer Künstlerinnen, Groupshow „Kunst am Fluss“, Düsseldorf
03 / 2022 In Motion, Maxim Walkutschik / Martina Ziegler / Polly Habuzin, SIGHT Galerie, Offenbach
02 / 2022 Groupshow, Kunst + Co., Amstelveen
09 / 2021 Groupshow Düsseldorfer Künstlerinnen, „Mission Venusberg“, 250 Jahre Beethoven, Düsseldorf
09 / 2021 Headless, Groupshow, Galerie Schmalfuß Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin
01 / 2021 Ausstellung No 7 PhotoPopupFair, Stilwerk Düsseldorf
12 / 2020 Soloshow Martina Ziegler. Multiple, Abstracts, Portraits, THE EX GALLERY (ehem.Hans Mayer), Düsseldorf
09 / 2020 Soloshow Martina Ziegler. Metafoto. Galerie Ludwig Kleebolte, Essen
11 / 2019 Exhibition No 6 PhotoPopupFair, Stilwerk Düsseldorf
09 / 2019 Soloshow Galerie SANDER I SOHN, Düsseldorf, DNA. Multiples become Abstracts
11 / 2018 Exhibition No 5 PhotoPopupFair, Stilwerk Düsseldorf
12 / 2017 Exhibition Galerie SANDER I SOHN, Düsseldorf, PORTRAITS: Various Artists
10 / 2017 Exhibition Kult, Elf im Glashaus, Köln-Bedburg, Multiple and Others
10 / 2016 Solo Ausstellung Villa Löwenburg, Meerbusch, Multiple and Others
05 / 2016 Exhibition Kunst aus Meerbusch, Teloy Mühle Meerbusch, Malerei
11 / 2016 Exhibition No 2 PhotoPopupFair, Stilwerk Düsseldorf, Multiple Portraits
05 / 2015 Solo Exhibition Showroom Blennemann, Düsseldorf, Multiple Portraits
05 / 2015 Exhibition Kunst aus Meerbusch, Teloy Mühle Lank, Malerei
12 / 2013 Solo Exhibition Penthouse KWS 166, Düsseldorf, Encounters and Turbans

Alice and Bob, or and God does play dice. On the Phenomenon of Entanglement.

A term that essentially describes my artistic work is „entanglement“.

This term comes from quantum physics. There, one speaks of entanglement when a composite physical system, considered as a whole, assumes a well-defined state without also being able to assign each of the subsystems its own well-defined state.

I made use of it unknowingly, although accidentally or intuitively (because I really have no idea of quantum physics) and was astonished how allegorical the two methodologies are.

In the beginning there was the idea to combine my painting with digital painting (in this exact order) to create something new and to artistically express and experimentally explore my interest in evolutionary change through influence.

The portraits painted with a brush on canvas, which serve me as a basis, are all painting collages from different fragments of different people. They already form a first entanglement of the process, because here, too, a new unreal portrait is created in the eye of the beholder from parts of faces.

By scanning the original, I obtain the digital data of my painting, from which I create further generations of portraits, up to completely abstract images, which I continue to call portraits, because that’s what they are – factually speaking.

Contrary to belief, the first painterly step is technically analog and constructed, followed by intuitive, digital steps. Sometimes I change the medium within this metamorphosis and return to the canvas, on which the image is then again painted over and photographed, and then integrates again and changed in the process of „entanglement“.

So my art concept now intertwines analog painting with digital painting in order to change, encode and transform the painting „DNA“ – with the intention of understanding it as an allegory for the evolution of the human being and to represent it as an expression of the multi-layered, complex individual with its various roles within societal and social networks.

In this artistic transformation, chance is essential, just as in the entanglement of quantum physics a distinction is made between subjective and objective chance.

The parallel to physics springs from my longing for analytical, philosophical, and logical justification for the existence of my work, and at the same time is an exploratory journey into the unpredictability of my creative double helix of analog and digital matter, intuition, and deconstruction, in which the playful momentum of chance plays a major role.

Quantum physics states, „Two systems are inextricably linked over great distance, independent of space and time.“

Seen in this light, the subjects of my work are interconnected and their „DNA“ lives on in ever new works.

I called the artistic result Metafoto (by the way, some time before Zuckerberg’s „Metaverse“) to express that there is a process behind it and not a digital photo in the actual sense. (Sense cognates: metamorphosis, meta-level, metafile, meta-goals, metaphysics, etc.).

Here is a definition of this by Professor Wilfried Korfmacher, HSD Düsseldorf, Peter Behrens School of Arts:

„The term „metaphoto“, hitherto unknown and uncommon in aesthetics, describes an innovative process of image making in which the extremely sophisticated, analog and digital intertwined methodology of creative processing plays the decisive role for the artistically unique result.“

Metaphotos are converted in various ways (C-print, canvas, fine art print on handmade paper or Dibond, NFT).
It is always an original, because the original information is identical. Nevertheless, there is the possibility of reproduction, but I limit it (unique copies, editions of 3 or 6 copies + max. 2 A.P.).

And sometimes they themselves become again the „mother matrix“, then as painted over unique.

*Note on the title:
Alice and Bob stand for two entangled photon particles, which are connected even over long distances.
Experiments by Anton Zeilinger, the 2022 Nobel Prize winner in physics, disproved Einstein’s quote, who as a devout Christian called entanglement a spooky long-range effect and said, „God does not play dice.“

Sources: Wikipedia, „Spooky action at a distance, because God does not play dice.“ (Quote from Albert Einstein) The physicists: Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger (who first introduced the term „entanglement“), Werner Heisenberg, and of course Anton Zeilinger, who received the 2022 Physics Nobel Prize for his experiments on entanglement in quantum physics. ARD Audiothek: Anton Zeilinger – The Second Quantum Revolution. How physicists think about reality, chance and the future.

Excerpt from the speech of Professor Korfmacher at the opening of the exhibition, Martina Ziegler. Metafoto

This is the title of this show. And so the name she has just found for what she does.

When we talked about it in her studio, I immediately liked the name. I suggested she use it as a trademark. And made her this very rhyme with it:

„The term „metafoto,“ previously unknown and unused in aesthetics, describes an innovative process of image making in which the extremely sophisticated, analog and digital intertwined methodology of creative processing plays the decisive role in
the artistically unique result.“

This is just my provisional definition for the patent office, but one that Martina spontaneously chose as her motto.

What is unique about Martina Ziegler’s current artifacts?
Well, while the old masters usually painted their motifs „from nature“, in the modern era the multimedia and experimental process became more and more the subject of artistic interest.
Martina Ziegler has never created images. Always, the portraits she nevertheless called them were basically all imaginary objects of her creative desire.
But while a few years ago she still „saw faces“ when painting – and in each case depicted the respective „persona“ as if she had been her model – she subsequently proceeded to „disillusion“ her ideal-typical figures, as it were, and gradually transformed them into completely free figurations.

While some artists stay with the same theme and technique throughout their lives, some often change from style to style seemingly at will.
Other artistic careers can be watched in their evolutionary development, as it were, like a lifelong journey through time.
The erratic processes are exciting!
I don’t think I’m deceived by the feeling that in Martina Ziegler’s work we are currently witnessing a veritable revolution – and nothing other than a

How wonderful!

All at once she abandons the ideal-typical countenance as the object of her artistic interest; and also leaves behind the comparatively disturbing collages.

It is true that abstraction is not a new invention.

What is new, however, is the result that we can now contemplate.
What is new is what Martina Ziegler does with her technically not at all particularly advanced possibilities to conceive and compose pictorial worlds quite freely.
It is new because she does it the way she does it. She gives us a hint with her titles.
Please note: Even in her seemingly non-representational paintings she speaks of PORTRAITS
Still Martina sees in each painting a counterpart.
For the original matter, the matrix, literally the „mother mass“ from which she draws her current portraits, consists of the digital data of her analog paintings, which she executed in the traditional manner with a brush in acrylic on canvas.
The colored stripes or golden streaks of her abstract works are also apparently always based on a pair of eyes that Martina probably fixes magically while she looks through the screen in front of her – like Alice in front of the mirror, as it were – and gives shape to her dreams with the mouse on the computer.

What happens in an instant, in the smallest psychological unit of time – the quantum of kairos.
In fact, no one has ever served as a model for her: there was and is no real counterpart to her idol „mothers,“ as she calls the painterly sources of her virtual creations.
Anonymous photographic fragments used to serve more as suggestions than models.
In the meantime, the actual DNA consists of intuitive painterly imagination and digital deconstruction.
And this is the magic double helix of Martina Ziegler’s visual art.
She calls her quantum leap Metafoto.
And I quote in this context the, as I said:

„analog and digital intertwined methodology“ that, in my opinion, underlies this metamorphosis.
Of very special importance is the term VERSCHRÄNKUNG.
It describes an idea from quantum physics.
In this mysterious guild one speaks of entanglement, if a composed physical system, considered as a whole, takes a well-defined state, without also being able to assign an own well-defined state to each of the subsystems.
What exactly this means is best explained by Ulrich and Martina Ziegler’s daughter Frances, their favorite creative satellite – a budding natural scientist.

Brain research? After all, the visual cortex belongs to the cerebrum!
So feel free to let your thoughts run free while wandering through this exhibition and looking at the truly sensational research results of Martina Ziegler.
And pay attention – I deliberately say „times“ – to this:
In her very last works, something new is already happening. Perhaps Milla, the family dog, comes into play here? Yes, what’s romping around there? Parrots, panthers, monkeys, even men! Animals are looking at you.
I wish us all a pleasant moment.

Professor Wilfried Korfmacher Graduate designer Graduate psychologist
Mayor’s House Essen-Werden Gallery Kleebolte
Sunday, September 6, 2020

Artistic approach

My artistic concept of metaphotos has emerged from the interweaving of intuitive painterly imagination and digital deconstruction („the magic double helix“). Simplified: the digital DNA of my painting is restaged.

This process began in 2015 with the Multiple Portraits series, which combines the multi-layered nature of human beings with the help of a multi-layered technique. The intention is just as multilayered and complex, because new aspects always flow into the artistic thought process. It is about different role models that everyone takes and it is about deception.
The hypothesis and the intention: Evolution takes place today mainly digitally. Media influence our being through changed thinking. This raises many questions that are socially, culturally and structurally relevant.
How does the influence of digital media change our thinking and our being? What impact will artificial intelligence have? Questions upon questions that need to be explored.
We know that there is no objectivity – we have come to terms with that – yet there is a longing for authenticity and realization of one’s own goals.
As a woman and an artist, I am therefore primarily concerned with the theme of the „multiple“ human being, in a world that is becoming more and more complicated (women in particular have learned to fulfill very different expectations by taking on different roles).

Especially in the diversity of the media, everyone is permanently exposed to evaluations. Perfectionism is strived for. Nothing is as it seems and one’s own perception can be a deception. I devote my artistic attention to these topics.

The artistic realization of my digital art is to be understood as allegory. The original images of the multiples are unreal portraits of women representing these role models. Made of four or five facial fragments of different women, the multiples are composed painterly in such a way that they feign homogeneity (acrylic on canvas) and all mislead the viewer. It is not about character portrayals, but about the metaphysical levels behind them.
In total, there are over 20, sometimes large-format painting collages as prototypes, sometimes followed by overpaintings, which in turn are photographed and again incorporated into the process.
This is the original matter, the matrix, literally the „mother mass“, which consists of the digital data of my analog paintings. The further technique of metamorphosis I call „Crossover Painting“ and is subject to a permanent process of experimentation.

Just as the fly’s compound eye perceives a multitude of tiny sections and combines them into a new overall image, further fictitious portraits and generations are created.

The leap into abstraction, into the „interior of portraits“, so to speak, marks a further step. Playfully, intuitively penetrating into the interior, dissecting, condensing, reducing and creating virtual worlds from the „DNA material“ that lead back into figuration is my current theme.
Perhaps everything ultimately has to do with the rather banal-sounding question „Where do I come from and where am I going?“ and also with the transformation of the world through social media, through artificial intelligence, evaluation and extreme simplification. These questions occupy me artistically and in the development of myself.

Martina Ziegler, „Multiple and Abstract Portraits“ Article: Cara Broekmann,
Since 2011, the artist Martina Ziegler has devoted herself mainly to the subject of portraits, convincing the viewer with her individual and, above all, innovative technique, with which she manages to convey a completely new perspective on this genre.

Ziegler’s art is based on a certain concept, which connects all her works. She does not limit herself to painting, but in the ongoing process of her creation she moves to the next level by integrating the medium of photography.

Beginning with a naturalistic portrait on canvas, the „archetype“ of the „Multiple Abstract Portraits“ – or also called the „Mother Matrix“ – emerges here.
Ziegler works in a collage-like manner by selecting photo fragments, for example the eyes of a particular person, and then transferring them onto the canvas in a painterly manner. The splitting and subsequent reassembly of the facial features is reminiscent of cubist features. This step is called „cross-over“ in Ziegler’s creative process and illustrates the interconnectedness of the various people in her portraits. This means that the same eyes of an original type work can be found in a later, clearly abstracted person. Ziegler consequently refers to these works as „daughters“ or „cousins“ of her „mother matrix.“

The composition of individual fragments creates not only a new aesthetic, but also an entirely unusual, spiritual approach. On this level, Ziegler links analog painting with modern digitality. In her more recent works, therefore, there are hardly any canvases to be found, but mainly digitized portraits, printed in high resolution as C Prints and presented under glass.

She herself describes this concept as an „interweaving of intuitive painterly imagination and digital deconstruction.“ This is how, among other things, the terms „the magic double helix“ and the „metafoto“ arise, which describe the core idea of Ziegler’s work. The neologism „metafoto“ in particular conceals an exciting idea. On the one hand, it illustrates the process of metamorphosis – that is, the transformation of previous being into a new kind of state – and on the other hand, it illustrates the extremely sophisticated, analog and digital intertwined methodology of the creative processing of her works.
Despite the strong abstraction in this process, the portraits remain.

This approach shows not only the complexity of Ziegler’s technique, but also that of her visionary and creative thinking. Her works are primarily about different role models that each of us takes on – about our own identity, about deception and being deceived. Who are we and where do we come from? And what is our connection to each other? These fundamental questions the artist gives the viewers at the beginning of her exhibition on the way and thus stimulates thinking about their own consciousness, the inner and the outer perception.

| The art of Martina Ziegler Text: Dr. Dagmar Täube, art historian (artcura).

The image of man has always interested the artists. Thereby it reflects the prevailing world view as well as the examination of the inner emotions. In this sense, there is hardly any other motif that presents itself in such a multi-layered way through the centuries. It is equally topical today as it was at any other time, and is constantly being reinvented.

Closely linked to this is the theme of beauty, which has also been evaluated differently and anew in different times, but has always played a major role.

Martina Ziegler also works in this thematic environment. The representation of images of women, also in the encounter with historical backgrounds from art and literature, have become her central theme. With each new group of works she dives deeper into this work and develops it further. In doing so, she follows her own unique path and creates new insights. Particularly important to her is the artistic wrestling with the subject.
She achieves this on the solid basis of the finest painting, but also with the use of the latest technical means, which, however, never become an end in themselves. The artistic as well as human depth that results from this is what the viewer finds in her works. At first glance, all the figures are almost flawlessly beautiful, and yet they do not appear superficial. Where they have been dissolved and reassembled, the viewer himself adds to this beauty as a whole. There is at times something lost in thought or mystical surrounding the figures, rarely anything cheerful.

The turban paintings are reminiscent of the classical painting of great masters. Here Martina Ziegler deals with subtle charisma. She creates images of timeless aesthetics and great urgency. Balanced, even features and harmonious color effects determine the representations. What they have in common is a strong intensity. The figure makes eye contact with the viewer without revealing anything of itself. In this way, the viewer is stimulated to deal with the subject himself and, moreover, to look into himself by means of the picture.

The encounters are staged more scenically. She mixes quotations and epochs, restages the fictional and the existing. Two figures are always recognizable, and the viewer wonders whether they are two sides of a single person. A peculiar silence surrounds them, almost a lonely atmosphere. They do not come into contact with each other and yet they belong together indispensably, like the light and shadow sides in our existence. Often one looks at the representation as if through a veil. With a few accessories it is possible to transfer the figures into another time, e.g. into the 19th century. The colorfulness and atmosphere convey a mood that transports the viewer into that time. They tell stories and equally again stimulate introspection.

The series of Multiple Portraits deals on another level with the complexity of the human being. Added to this is the artist’s interest in the new possibilities of visual expression, which shows itself in an elaborate combination of painting, photography and computer processing. Just as the compound eye of a fly perceives different details and assembles them into an overall image, Martina Ziegler creates new views and insights of female portraits. At first, one may be reminded of cubist pictorial concepts, which she, however, takes further and, with the help of completely new techniques, combines into entirely new creations. Her images of people become more and more complex, not only from an artistic-technical point of view, but also in their charisma.