RhinocerosHelmut Middendorf, 1979/80
At the end of the 1970s, I often went to the Berlin Zoo.Helmut Middendorf, 2022
Animals in paintings have always fascinated me. In the Berlin Zoo, I discovered the rhinoceros, calmly standing in its enclosure like a monumental sculpture. For me, it was a very exciting surreal situation. The primeval rhinoceros, transplanted from the wilderness right into the heart of the buzzing metropolis of Berlin.
Less than 100 metres from the enclosure was the Berlin Zoo railway station, notorious at the time for drug dealing and crime. Also within sight was Berlin’s Gedächtniskirche – a ruin as a symbol of the post-war era. Standing still and motionless in this environment was my rhinoceros model. And I set about painting it.