How I became Germany’s panorama painter
Yadegar Asisi has panorama paintings in several German cities, with his latest in Lutherstadt Wittenberg for 2017’s Luther anniversary. Here he tells us how the whole panorama concept came into being.
I first became interested in the illusion of painting as a child. I started to do a lot of drawing, and acquainted myself with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, whose mastery of perspective I still find breathtaking. As a young man I studied architecture in Dresden and then painting in Berlin, and one of my first jobs was the design for an exhibition about historic panorama paintings of the 19th century. As part of that I recreated a historic panorama depicting Rome, and we reproduced it in huge size for the exhibition.
Then in 1995, during German reunification, there were big discussions about Berlin and the rebuilding of central places such as Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz. I did four panoramas that showed how these and other places would eventually look, and the project was a huge success as ‘normal’ people now could understand what was being discussed.
Later a great opportunity came my way: I wanted to do a panorama of Mount Everest on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its first successful climb, and I heard that Leipzig in Saxony, where I had spent my youth, had an old disused gasometer. They let me restore it, and do my ‘Everest 360°’ inside. It was a great success, and I followed it with ‘Rome CCCXII’, and that’s how the whole thing started.
Dresden was next, and then another in Leipzig, and then in Berlin, and our first export panorama, at Rouen in France. The latest to be developed is the ‘Luther 1517’ panorama which just opened this October, in a new specially built setting in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the focus of the 500th anniversary celebrations for 2017. In the immediate future there’s a new Leipzig panorama opening in January, and we are working on several more in the next ten years.
Over the last few years I’ve found that the panorama concept attracts a wide range of people, more than just classical museum goers. The impact of having the image all round you is effectively one of total immersion, in a space of time, emotion, thought and memory.
More information on the Asisi homepage.
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