Franz Ackermann is a multimedia artist whose practice is entwined with the action and implications of travel and tourism. He is a painter and installation artist born in Neumarkt-Sankt Veit in Bavaria, Germany.
From 1984 to 1988, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, then, from 1989 to 1991, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg under Bernhard Blume. In the 1990s, he began the series Mental Maps. These small-scale watercolor and gouache sketches were produced during his travels around the world.
His works encompass paintings, drawing, photography, sculpture, and, perhaps most famously, immersive installations. In his installations, Ackermann is known for incorporating the architecture of a space, at times making use of the ceiling, floors, and hallways of a gallery space. His works are made in part during his own excursions, and in part in his studio, based on memories of experiences. One of his first major series, “Mental Maps” (begun 1996) is a series of watercolors created around the world, which mixes factually precise maps of a city along with his own interpretations. Other works address themes of globalization, and the glamor and waste of commercialization.
The works depict semi-realistic architectural views, biomorphic ornamentation, and cartographic elements mixed with abstract, bright areas of color and geometric constructions. Ackermann combines these Mental Maps with photographs and found objects to create large-scale installations. His wall design The Great Journey (2003) can be seen in the Munich subway station Georg-Brauchle-ring. Often, his works can be understood as a critical and political commentary on the issues of tourism and globalization. Since 2001, Ackermann has been a professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe. His works have been shown at many galleries and museums worldwide.
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