Heinz  Niederer Homepage

1942 Wädenswil (ZH).

Sculptor, visualisation of time structures.


From 1958 to 1962, apprentice of machine fitter with Swiss Federal Railways while attending trade school in Zürich. 1962 to1967 and 1970 to 1971, industrial work and studying abroad. 1968 to 1969 trainee with Silvio Mattioli. Since 1975 working exclusively as an artist. 1975 to 1977 development of plaster and concrete sculpture. From 1978 on, worked with refined steel and different ferrous metals. 1979 1980 and 1981 received funding from the Zürich Government. 1988, 1996, 1997 support from StEO-Foundation. 1990 support from the Cassinelli-Vogel-Foundation. Since 1982 worked on Time Sculptures. 1983 founder and first president of the working community of Zürich Sculptors (AZB). 1998, first work named "Timemark", and planned work for five years, using the Internet as a working instrument. Currently lives and works in Zürich.


With his archaic looking sculptures, Niederer reminds you of the stoney character of sectioned ore. Analogous to geological forms, it shows a solidified flow form of the hand-worked metal and the building energy of the artist. Some of the sculptures he breaks up vertically with a chisel after forging and after sanding and polishing the inner surfaces, he rejoins the pieces with displaced axes, whereby the structure of the rough and polished surfaces contrast. The uneven surfaces of the metal blocks, correspond to the combined designs. Since 1980 photographs accompany the exhibitions and document the work process of the sculptures.

In the time sculptures, Niderer uses irony to deride the way the works of art are elevated into a higher time, by letting them run into different times. On the one hand, in the broken pillar shafts and melted bases since 1983 he shows, symbolically, the crumbling process of steel and the transience of the work material allegorically since 1986 with tongue-formed, tombstone-like steel sculptures. On the other hand, he visualises the different physical lifetimes of combined metal, meltings and water in different combinations.

The time structure of the art can cover a few minutes as in "Eisschiff", 1997; weeks in "…und Zeit", 1990, a time variable in the form of a steel tower containing lances attached to aluminium strips. The lances fall to ground as the aluminium erodes. Thousands of years in "Zeit II", 1986, an object of chrome steel pyramid and glass which will, in 25,000 years, flow into the steel form; finally millions of years in "Vier Graphiteiern" which Niderer deposited in the volcano Kilauea on Hawaii in1992. The Graphite Eggs will appear in ca. 1.8 million years, if things go according to plan, after the volcano is flat, in the form of diamonds. In the Internet-Artefact "Timemark" the artist has worked, since April 1998, with the culture-independent time-marking method of the starry sky. Small epoxy-resin disks for distribution over the earth, show, on the front, the exact Lambert projection of the north or south half sphere and on the back, aligned with the earth middle point, the starry sky in the year 2000. By buying a disk, Internet recipients of the project will become members of the working community, and eternalise their engraved name on a chosen point on the earth. The representation of the starry sky, so the idea is, will make it possible for a later higher culture to determine the date of production of the disks.

By designing projects which extend beyond the lifetime of participants and leaving signs for the future, Niderer relativises the meaning of human age, and shows the single art work as something ephemeral. At the same time his sculptures are a symbol of the dimension of time.


Work Directory, Selection.

Exhibition with four steel sculptures, 1983-84/1994-96, Köniz-Liebefeld, Bureau of milk department, veterinary department and health department. 1980-81, Chur exhibition, Steel, Chur, Graubündner kantonalbank, entrance hall. "Four graphite eggs", 1992, Hawaii Kilauea-volcano. Sparzava, 1984-91, steel, forged, water dividing point "Rhein-Donau", Dschimels Albulapass. Chapalki, 1989, steel forged, Schlieren, Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft, Kunsthaus Zürich. Wasserspiel,1975-77, concrete, Zürich water department, Hardhof, Tram stop Hardturm. "Bogen", 1988-91, steel sprayed red, Zürich, Solida-Park, Badener-/Saumstrasse.



• Zeitskulptur. Volumen als Ereignis. Linz, Oberösterreichische Landesgalerie, 1997. [Texte:] Anselm Wagner, Peter Assmann. Weitra: Bibliothek in der Provinz, 1997

• Opus Magnum. Projekt für eine Skulptur. Mit einem Textbeitrag von Paul Meyer-Meierling. Zürich: Edition Unikate, 1997

• Metall Symposium. Spital am Pyhrn. Jürg Altherr, Sepp Auer, Werner Feiersinger, Franco Ionda, Michael Kienzer, Heinz Niederer, Richard Nonas, Peter Sanbichler, Franz West. [Texte:] Amnon Barzel [et al.]. [Linz], 1996

• Fragile. Handle with Care. Eine österreichisch-schweizerische Gemeinschaftsausstellung.

Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, 1996. Ausstellung: Brigitta Malche. Männedorf: Edition Nomad, 1997

• Arbeitsgemeinschaft Zürcher Bildhauer im Gaswerk Schlieren. [Texte:] Hans Renggli, Ursina Jakob. Zürich: Teamart, 1993

• Eisen 89 - Perspektiven Schweizer Eisenplastik 1934-1989. [Hrsg.] Verein Eisen 89, Dietikon; [Texte:] Volker Schunck, John Matheson; Vorwort: Felix A[ndreas] Baumann. Zürich: Offizin, 1989

• Eisen. Schmiedehandwerk, Holzköhlerei, Kunsthandwerk, Kunst, Baustoff Eisen. Winterthur, Technorama, 1988. [Texte:] Willy Rotzler [et al.]. Winterthur, 1988

• Rolf Lambrigger: Zürich. Zeitgenössische Kunstwerke im Freien. Geleitwort: Thomas Wagner; Vorwort: Sigmund Widmer; Einleitung: Rolf Lambrigger. Zürich: Orell Füssli, 1985

• Kunst am Bau. Industrielle Betriebe der Stadt Zürich. Text und Konzept: Yvonne Höfliger. Zürich, 1984

• Dietmar Weber: «Betonplastik im Wasserspiel». In: Cementbulletin, 1978, 2




Jochen Hesse

(Tranlated by Tamara Lisi