Biography

1962

Born in Huttwil, Switzerland, the daughter of Nelli and Max Weyermann. She has an older sister, Barbara, and a younger brother, Daniel, who is born in 1966.

1981 to 1982

After graduating from high school Weyermann moves to Paris. She stays for nine months, working as an au pair. In Paris she becomes acquainted with the German actress Angela Winkler, who invites her to a film shoot in Berlin.

1982 to 1983

Back in Bern she moves out of her parents’ home and enrols to study art history at the University of Bern.
While visiting Berlin she meets Angela Winkler on the film set of Heller Wahn (1983, director: Margarethe von Trotta). She decides to move to Berlin, and does so that same year, against the will of her parents. Weyermann enrols for philosophy, theatre studies and general and comparative literature at the city’s Freie Universität [Free University]; later she also studies art history.
Despite her studies she is still searching for her vocation. It is at this point that she starts to paint and draw.

1987
1987
1984

Her first application to the Hochschule der Künste [College of the Arts] in Berlin is not successful.

1985 to 1987

Two further applications to the Hochschule der Künste are not successful. To calm down her parents, Weyermann starts a one-year course to train as a medical masseuse.

1987 to 1989

Admission to the third semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She moves to the Dutch capital.

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Academic years
1989

Weyermann moves back to Berlin and enrols for the fine arts programme at the Hochschule der Künste. The painter Raimund Girke becomes her most influential teacher.

1990

Her close Swiss friend Irène Hug moves to Berlin, and they live in a squat in Fehrbelliner Straße with other friends. The parties they organise together become increasingly successful.
Towards the end of her studies Weyermann gets her own studio, which furthers her artistic development. She receives funding allocated to female artists at the Hochschule der Künste, and she starts working with lignite (brown coal).

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Hochschule der Künste, Berlin
1991

Group exhibition at Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt.

1992

Student in honours programme taught by Raimund Girke.
Weyermann continues to paint and work with lignite (brown coal).

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Berlin 1992
1993

After finishing her studies she receives a working grant from the Berlin Senate Department for Cultural Affairs. She joins a Goldrausch course that culminates in a group exhibition at Gropius Bau, Berlin.

1994

First exhibition of early paintings in cooperation with Irène Hug in Zurich and a group exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern.
In the same year Weyermann starts working on several different installations that deal with space and its perception. The first piece, Doppelnaturen [Dual Natures] is exhibited at the Botanisches Büro, Berlin. Set in an industrial ruin, the installation is a structure comprising mirrored black drawings and a pond with horsetails.

 

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Berlin 1994
1995

In 1995 Weyermann starts dealing with the issue of space. This leads to her second installation 54 x Acryl auf Tubolit  [54 x Acrylic on Tubolit], which is located in the shell of a building.
54 coloured scaffolding tubes are positioned in such a way that each time the viewer moves in front of them, they see new variations on the colourful images. In selecting the colour values to correspond to the values of the spaces in between the scaffolding poles as well as those of the other poles, the space where the installation is located becomes the surface upon which the colour is shown while also simultaneously being visually suspended. Space becomes two-dimensional through colour.

1995 to 1997

Receives a studio grant from the Karl Hofer Gesellschaft, Berlin.

1996

Maja Weyermann meets painter Sven Flechsenhar in preparation for the group exhibition Apollo 1  at Museumsakademie in Berlin. They become a couple.
Receives a work grant from Stiftung Kulturfonds, Berlin.

1997

Joey Zimmermann, Irène Hug and Maja Weyermann (J. I. M.) initiate an artist group called die der art guten Freunde [the sort who are good friends].

1998

The artist group die der art guten Freunde organises four events in total. The group’s activities end in October with a gambling event staged by the group. Blackjack and poker games are played on five evenings in the back room of a corner pub in Berlin.
Another major installation is realised. Called transformed object, it reflects on how spatial perception changes through virtual space. This leads Weyermann to work with 3D graphic software.

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Berlin 1998
1999

Weyermann produces her first digital collage: a rendering that shows her studio. Rather than using a found image of the space, she reconstructs its architecture based on the construction plans. The idea is to rebuild the room, but virtually, as it were: designed 3D simulation. From now on Weyermann perfects her computer-generated spaces and her artistic processes shift from the analogue into the digital world.

2000

Weyermann visits her sister Barbara in Kathmandu and subsequently travels with Sven Flechsenhar on her first trip to India. She is enthusiastic about India and wants to spend more time there.

2001

Her interest in philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein leads her to the Wittgenstein villa. The Haus Wittgenstein on Kundmanngasse in Vienna was designed by Wittgenstein for his sister. Three renderings show different perspectives from the inside and outside of this modernist building. A year before that she completes the work Absence, which is inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. She chooses real existing houses for her motifs, such as Farnsworth House, the Wittgenstein villa and buildings that are renowned in architectural history for their clarity and transparency. In addition, she also focuses on unknown rooms that mean something to her personally, such as her studio, the Luxus Bar or a hotel room in Palermo.
Work grant of the Berlin Senate Department for Cultural Affairs.

2002

Weyermann gets more interested in cinematic spaces. She sees parallels between the perception of real space and the (re)construction of cinematic space in one’s own imagination. Over the next few years, she focuses on this in various series of works. Luxus II is the first piece to deal with the aspects of time and movement, which are essential for the moving image. The pictures in the Luxus series show a room from the same perspective, but the room seems to move, and its state changes.

Madrid 2002
Madrid 2002
2003

Second trip to South India with Sven Flechsenhar.
Along with her investigation of Orson Welles’ movie The Trial (based on a novel by Kafka), which was shot at the Gare d’Orsay, and Le Corbusier’s sketches for a hotel room in a congress complex that was supposed to be built as a replacement for the Gare d’Orsay, she creates a multimedia room installation comprising renderings, a video piece and a sound collage. The work is exhibited at the Koch und Kesslau Gallery that same year.

2004

Becomes a guest lecturer at the architecture department of the University of Liechtenstein.
Maja Weyermann travels to India for a third time.
The Berlin gallery Koch und Kesslau successfully shows her works at the Frieze Art Fair in London. Nevertheless, the gallery owners decide to close the gallery at the end of the year. She meets gallery owner Vera Munro for the first time.

India 2004
India 2004
2005

First solo exhibition, titled Liminal at her new gallery, Vera Munro, in Hamburg. In collaborating with the Vera Munro Gallery, Weyermann becomes both more professional and more visible on the art market.

2006

Weyermann starts collaborating with the Nosbaum Reding Gallery in Luxembourg.
The Saigon series is created, taking inspiration from the novella Heart of Darkness (1899) by Joseph Conrad and the movie Apocalypse Now (1979, director: Francis Ford Coppola).
The question of the extent to which concepts of space are dependent on cultural imprinting is of increasing interest to her. Through her research she comes across the city of Chandigarh, which was planned and designed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier and completed in the 1950s. Weyermann sees her research as an “opportunity to deal with India in my artistic work without falling into the trap of exoticism, because I’m starting out from something that is familiar to me. Chandigarh is a hybrid that was originally designed to be European, but is now an Indian city.”
Makes her third trip to India, the destination Chandigarh.

Chandigarh 2006
Chandigarh 2006
2008

After another solo exhibition, titled Chandigarh at Vera Munro Gallery, she travels to Chandigarh. The trip is funded by pro helvetia New Delhi and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa).
Solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Chandigarh and the India International Centre, New Delhi.
She finds it important that the project is shown on site.
Production of the DVD Chandigarh – an approach.

2010

real-time-nomads, an audio–video project supported by the European Cultural Foundation, Netherlands.

2011 to 2012

Weyermann’s second video cycle about paradise can be seen as a continuation of real-time-nomads. The connecting element of these videos is the interview. Conversations with business people from various social and cultural backgrounds form the basis of the scripts and 3D simulations. The 3D simulations are woven together with quotes from the interviews and video recordings from the workspaces of the interviewees to create video portraits.

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Berlin 2011
2012

Receives a research grant from the foundation pro helvetia New Delhi for the project The House of Mr Sharma, Chandigarh. Weyermann travels to India for the last time.

2013

Two solo shows feature her new series of works on the Miller house. The Miller House is exhibited in a gallery in Amsterdam and The Miller House – and a Slice of Cake – or – Life Shortly Before Disaster in Luxembourg.

2014

Istanbul residency supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Cultural Affairs. During this residency she develops ideas and makes observations that lead to her video project Letters from Abroad. Weyermann’s video installation makes reference to the role Armenians played in carpet production and trade in Turkey before 1915, and interconnects this history with the expropriation of the immovable assets of Armenian foundations in Istanbul. In the work she combines real HD video footage with 3D animations.
She receives catalogue funding from the Berlin Senate Department for Cultural Affairs, Berlin.
Solo exhibitions at the galleries Sanatorium in Istanbul and Krethlow in Bern.
Participates in the exhibition Bad Thoughts – Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Istanbul 2015
Istanbul 2015
2015

Solo exhibition in the Nosbaum Reding Gallery, accompanied by the publication of a catalogue featuring her works created since 1999.
She presents Letters from Abroad in an Istanbul art space called DEPO.
In autumn she learns that she has cancer.

2016

Maja Weyermann dies of cancer on 11 May 2016 in Berlin.

Updated August 23, 2021