EGON ZIPPEL - The Devandalizer in Heidelberg





Egon Zippel was born in Timisoara, Rumania in 1960 to German parents. When Nicolae Ceaușescu rose to power in 1964, the Zippels presciently left for Heidelberg, Germany, to begin life anew.

Egon studied graphic design at the University of Mannheim whence he received a Fulbright Scholarship comprising an introductory month at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and the academic year of 1984-85 at the University of Texas in Austin. Over the next few years Egon studied computer graphics at NYIT  (New York Institute of Technology) and finished his postgraduate studies at the Institute for New Media at the Staedel Art Academy in Frankfurt from 1993-94.

During the early ‘90s he lived primarily in Italy until eventually settling again in NYC in 1996. Currently he maintains studios in both New York and Berlin.

Egon believes in both predetermination and free will. Wrestling with this contradiction makes daily life rather complex (and fun).

THE DEVANDALIZER Hunter & Gatherer Egon Zippel at Orchard Windows Gallery in New York City, 2012

Christopher Hart Chambers, d’art International, Fall/Winter 2012:

During the last few years the streets of the world have been home to a new underground art movement, and like most things, the craze is perhaps most intense in New York City, where after all, street art was born some thirty years ago. Small, mass produced stickers bedeck almost every street sign, lamppost, any available surface whatsoever –mostly in downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn neighborhoods that girdle it – because that is where the artists are. Some stickers advertise music, stores, sneakers; anything. But many more do not overtly proclaim any message at all. They are art, their cryptic, anonymous messages open to interpretation, whether purely visual motifs or incorporating text as well.

Egon Zippel has chosen his favorites and honored them – maybe not to their makers’ liking: He has “immortalized” them by scraping them from their placement on the streets and re-affixing them to canvas. It is difficult to scrape the stickers from the streets in one clean piece; Zippel feels the weathered, fragmented effect confirms their authenticity. He experiments with different compositional strategies. Some canvases are devoted wholly to numerous repetitions of the same sticker, pasted all over like a fabric design, others incorporate several different ones in a sunburst formation.

The work straddles numerous fences and encompasses several categories: Painting, conceptual art, and collage all come into play as he vandalizes the vandals. Yet, Zippel has “immortalized” the stickers by scraping them from their ephemeral placements on city streets and re-affixing them to canvas. Weathered and tattered, fragmented and battered, he feels that their war-torn condition confirms their authenticity. With a multi-edged blade Egon Zippel has developed a new twist on urban archeology.