Zimmerman’s Cold City photographic series is inspired by former Soviet “closed cities”, restricted industrial or military complexes associated with the cold war, many of which were situated in remote or arctic locations. However, the monumental buildings he depicts also are familiar in the Canadian context. In Halifax and Toronto, they suggest the old water-side generating stations, now transformed into the Power Plant gallery in Toronto and in Halifax the headquarters of Nova Scotia Power.
“For over two decades my installation and photographic practice has centered around utopian aspects of western architectural history, with a particular interest in Neo-classicism. My first photographic series Lost Hamilton Landmarks developed out of an interest in the monumental national building programs in the period leading up to WWII. This was followed up by a similar series Industrial Landmarks of Britain that looked back on 19th century Classical precedents.”
My current photographic series Cold City continues this longstanding interest in authoritarian architectural imagery. Defined by an era of a nuclear confrontation, more recently, they have come to redefine the meaning of industrialization. Cities like Severmorsk (next door to Murmansk on the Arctic Ocean and designated dumping ground for the Russian nuclear fleet) or the industrial mining city of Norilsk (pop. 175,000) sit further north than the MacKenzie Delta and are the world’s most northerly large cities. They are also the world’s most contaminated,” Carl Zimmerman.
Zimmerman moved to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia in the 1970’s, after briefly attending McMaster University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has been exhibiting his work throughout Canada and Europe for the past 25 years and can be found in permanent collections of: Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Museum London, London, ON; Canada Council Art Bank; Art Gallery of Hamilton, ON; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, PEI; St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax; Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, NB; Nova Scotia Art Bank; etc.