founded in 2012


Thomas Zipp

born 1966 in Heppenheim, Germany; lives and works in Berlin

1992–1998: Studies art at the Städelschule Frankfurt and the Slade School in London

2005–2007: Guest professor for painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe

Since 2008: Professor of painting and multimedia at Berlin University of the Arts

Since 2013: Guest professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Thomas Zipp, painter, sculptor, installation, and video artist, began his career as a musician and at the age of twenty-six decided to study art with Thomas Bayrle in Frankfurt.

Zipp’s paintings are primarily embedded in larger installations that often represent wild psycho-fictions or absurd and alien worlds from the unconscious. Storytelling is a central element for the artist, and he often integrates quotes from literature, film, or music as well as historical material in his narratives.

His works flirt with elements of art brut or the imaginary worlds of the mentally ill. He plays with bizarre world conspiracies and extrasensory hallucinations, prophetic visions, and horror fantasies between drug highs and delusions.


Installations like World Kantzler Office (2004) or The World’s Most Complete Congress of Ritalin Treatments (2011) appear particularly obscure—dark fantasies of world domination and religious psychotic dystopia—staged in the spirit of a total work of art. As a German artist, Zipp refers to the darker sides of the (spiritual) history of his country and the spook lingering on in postwar modern times. His world views reference the past, wanting to redeem the psyche like some occult practice searching for spiritual healing in the game of performance.

The World’s Most Complete Congress of Ritalin Treatments shows a laboratory or a psychiatric facility as a sacred room in which masked actors perform a ritual treatment. At first, it appears to be some kind of grotesque psychiatrist visit, but then by exaggerating and embedding it in a form of musical performance set among church pews, an ecstatic feeling is triggered in the form of expanded consciousness, much like a spiritual experience.

Author: Lona Gaikis



Thomas Zipp came to art through music. In the meantime, he attracts more notice as a visual artist, although his activities as a musician are no less important.

At the beginning of the 1980s, he and his friends formed the punk rock band The Swunk with him on drums. The group toured Europe until 1996, producing their own records and music cassettes (such as Everything Is Gone, 1993). When one of the founding members, Emanuel Vatter, died, the group abruptly disbanded.

In 2002, he got together with the artist and cartoonist Felix Weber and formed a new music project with the apt name NaziHipiWelt. Referring to itself as »free music,« the band was joined by the electronic technician Sepp Löbert and became the SLW Trio. This later became DA (abbreviation for »Dickarsch« = fat ass) which involved Zipp’s former band members with whom he has performed since 2006 in the context of exhibition openings. In 2006, the LP Geist ueber Materie (Future Organ) came out.

Music plays an important role in many of Zipp’s installations. His performances often include a band setup, and his sound installations feature experimental approaches. In his exhibition Ich ist eine Ego-Machine (Me Is an Ego Machine, 2016/17), shown at the Eres Stiftung in Munich, he developed an installation on the magnetism of the human body, showing their movements in its field and converting them into sounds.

In the Exhibition

In the Exhibition


Concert at Kunstverein Oldenburg, August 31, 2012, with Stefan Branca (guit.), Mattias Vatter (bass guit.), Phillip Zaiser (perc.), Thomas Zipp (dr.), 19:23 min.

Film: Thomas Zipp, Courtesy: Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna

In his solo exhibition at the Kunstverein in Oldenburg in 2012, Zipp plays with Stefan Pilger, Matthias Vatter, and Phillip Zaiser under the name DA EAT.

As the drummer, Zipp provides the rhythmic basis and the tempo. The sound meanders between rock and psychedelic moments in the tradition of German progressive rock and opens up references to the kraut-rock of the late 1960s and 1970s which has left its mark, especially in southern Germany. Zipp’s place of birth, Heppenheim, is near the avant-garde center of Darmstadt.


Lona Gaikis