Visiting the artist Timmermahn – the man who threw Bern out of balance

Not even he can describe exactly what he does. And his résumé reads like an adventure novel – including drugs, excesses and raids. Who is this Timmermahn whose latest play is celebrating its premiere today?

His pictures once cost as much as a middle-class car: painter, author and theater maker Timmermahn tells us about his life.

Photo: Adrian Moser

The attempt has often been made to put into words the actions of this gnarled gentleman who – singing a solemn melody – opens the door to his apartment for us. Someone once said he was a kind of “Gotthelf on LSD”. Peter Bichsel said: “Anyone who describes Timmermahn is doing him an injustice”, and Bernhard Luginbühl called him “a legendary figure”. When he was a guest at «Aeschbacher» a few years ago, he described himself as someone «with a great attitude towards life». In addition, a self-assessment by him from 1971 has come down to us, in which he characterized himself as follows: “I make stage poems as I see fit and without questioning everything – and I do not need to be understood.” Most likely it hits: Timmermahn is a surrealist disguised as a fairy tale uncle. And in this position he has made it to the humorist and art superstar in a country that is not exactly well-equipped for humorists and art superstars.

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