Heinz Mack. ZERO-Painting

Akademie-Galerie – Die Neue Sammlung (The New Collection) in collaboration with Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art

To mark the publication of the catalogue raisonné of Heinz Mack's ZERO paintings, the Akademie-Galerie – Die Neue Sammlung, in collaboration with Beck & Eggeling, is showing an exhibition of eighteen prominent paintings by the artist from the creative period 1956–1968.

The ZERO movement developed from 1957—sixty years ago—in the wake of Heinz Mack and Otto Piene’s studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and was made official in 1958 with the first issue of the magazine ZERO. ZERO saw itself as a radical critic of the traditional concept of painting, especially the Informel of the fifties. Mack, Piene, and Günther Uecker, who joined later, took the view that abstract painters had fully painted the world and that only the sky was left for them. This led to the inclusion of air, fire, water, and light as fully valid artistic materials, to the dematerialization of the art object, and to new notions of space, as Heinz Mack outlined back in 1958 with the presentation of his Sahara Project, which was realized ten years later. Thus, ZERO was at the forefront of moving beyond panel painting, which united the avant-garde art around 1960. At the same time, however, a positive concept of painting emerged, which Heinz Mack first formulated in 1958 in his manifesto The New Dynamic Structure.

Two years earlier, Mack had already begun to develop these dynamic structures—paintings in which a painting of light is uniquely opposed to traditional colorism. The structure replaces the traditional motif. Differentiated repetition supplants composition. The direct modulation of the light supersedes the modulation of the bright colors, which Heinz Mack reintroduced all the same in the early years of ZERO by starting from the pure color spectrum oflight. The lim...

The ZERO movement developed from 1957—sixty years ago—in the wake of Heinz Mack and Otto Piene’s studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and was made official in 1958 with the first issue of the magazine ZERO. ZERO saw itself as a radical critic of the traditional concept of painting, especially the Informel of the fifties. Mack, Piene, and Günther Uecker, who joined later, took the view that abstract painters had fully painted the world and that only the sky was left for them. This led to the inclusion of air, fire, water, and light as fully valid artistic materials, to the dematerialization of the art object, and to new notions of space, as Heinz Mack outlined back in 1958 with the presentation of his Sahara Project, which was realized ten years later. Thus, ZERO was at the forefront of moving beyond panel painting, which united the avant-garde art around 1960. At the same time, however, a positive concept of painting emerged, which Heinz Mack first formulated in 1958 in his manifesto The New Dynamic Structure.

Two years earlier, Mack had already begun to develop these dynamic structures—paintings in which a painting of light is uniquely opposed to traditional colorism. The structure replaces the traditional motif. Differentiated repetition supplants composition. The direct modulation of the light supersedes the modulation of the bright colors, which Heinz Mack reintroduced all the same in the early years of ZERO by starting from the pure color spectrum of light. The limited use of color and grid-like structures create new surfaces that seem to vibrate and act as three-dimensional reliefs. In spite of the radical limitation of the medium, no one painting resembles another.

The exhibition makes what is outlined by the catalogue raisonné tangible: it reveals the painterly need of the artist at a time when triumphing over panel painting, as well as its revival in the abstract painting of the postwar period, in favor of direct work with the elements of light, fire, earth, air, and matter was on the agenda. Mack's ZERO painting is a vital key to the understanding of his oeuvre and shows how closely linked the transgression of painting was linked to his work on painting: Heinz Mack painted pictures in order to think and implement the ZERO concepts.

The current global interest in the ZERO art movement also reflects the particular topicality of Mack's ZERO painting; not least because of its digital structure, which anticipates the inner logic of the new imagery of our time.

Publications

Heinz Mack. ZERO-Malerei. Catalogue Raisonné 1956–1968

Heinz Mack. ZERO-Malerei. Catalogue Raisonné 1956–1968

  • Artist: Heinz Mack
    Editor: Robert Fleck in Zusammenarbeit mit Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
    Text: Edouard Derom, Robert Fleck, Andrea Knop, Bettina Weiand
  • English, German
    Hardcover, Schuber, 26,5 × 30 cm
    432 pages, 535 illustrations
  • Hirmer Verlag, 2017
    ISBN 978-3-77742352-4
  • 98,00 €
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