Posts Tagged ‘Galerie Perrotin’

Art | Zero’s Heinz Mack

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Heinz Mack in his
Düsseldorf studio, 1959

Photo Archive Heinz Mack

Heinz Mack ‘Spectrum’ (1950-2016)
Galerie Perrotin, Paris
Paris | France
23 April > 4 June 2016

Parallelogramm, Heinz Mack, 2016
Stainless steel.
View of the exhibition ‘Spectrum’
at Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
Photo Claire Dorn

Until recent years there was a great big hole in our art education. It is gradually being filled with ZERO – something to celebrate.

The resurgence of interest in the highly-influential European-based ZERO art movement founded in the 1950s, but which by the mid-1970s had all but disappeared, was probably the result of the 2010 sale of the Gerhard and Anna Lenz collection of ZERO art at Sotheby’s in London, in the wake of which major retrospective exhibitions at The Guggenheim in New York, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, and the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris all followed.

The shows at these prominent institutions, however, as opposed to being about any single artist within the group, have all been mixed. In fact, aside from a solo exhibition this year in Istanbul, and others in equally obscure locations, such as Teheran (2001), ZERO’s visionary founding member, the German Heinz Mack (b 1935), hasn’t had a major one-man show outside of Germany since 1973 – an oversight which this new show at Paris’s prestigious Galerie Perrotin, will go some way to putting right.

Destined to become a significant contributor to the history of 20th century art, having attended the Arts Academy in Düsseldorf, Heinz Mack studied philosophy in Cologne in the mid-1950s and afterwards began to create paintings, reliefs, and sculptures exploring the effects of light, reflections and movement. He first experimented with spatial art through light reliefs and light cubes in polished aluminium in 1958, creating ambiguous works that were difficult to fix mentally or to record photographically.

Mack’s first solo exhibition in 1957 at Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf, was soon followed by others in Paris, London and, in 1966, New York, where from 1964 > 65 he had briefly lived. However, since the 1966 show, Mack’s work has only appeared in America amongst that of many others in 2001 at MoMA and at Los Angeles County Museum in 2004, as well as, of course, in the 2014, much-belated, first ever, large-scale exhibition in the United States of the group’s work, ZERO – Countdown to tomorrow, 1950-1960s, at The Guggenheim.

Lamellenrelief, Heinz Mack, 1963
Aluminium, wood, perspex.
Photo Pierre Antoine

Lichtgitter-Relief, Heinz Mack, 1984
Varnished steel, brass, wood.
Photo Pierre Antoine

Lichtskulptur, 2001
(Detail – replica of the
lost original model from 1976)
Embossed, anodised,
silver-coloured aluminium,
stainless steel.
Photo Archive Heinz Mack

The apparent American ambivalence toward Mack and ZERO’s work throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s may have its roots in the late 1940s, when, post World War II, for the first time the locus of contemporary art shifted from Paris to New York, where abstract expressionism – often referred to as the first specifically American art movement to achieve international influence – and the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, was the big draw. ZERO formed by Heinz Mack with Otto Piene, later joined by Günther Uecker, which came to number among many others Yves Klein and Jesús Rafael Soto as members, argued that art should be void of colour, emotion and individual expression, thus placing itself in direct opposition to abstract expressionism, and anathema in the USA. Minimalism and pop art, too, had by the end of the 1950s become powerful forces in the United States and would further strengthen New York’s impregnable position as the world’s art capital – a position it would not willingly relinquish and one which, at the time, and for the next couple of decades, it was easily able to defend.

In recognition of his international importance, in 1970, Mack represented Germany at The Venice Bienale, but, despite having created groundbreaking abstract work, and productions – via his numerous excursions to the Sahara and the Arctic – and actions that foreshadowed land art, as well as having anticipated aspects of minimalism and conceptual art was largely ignored in the US. Over time ZERO itself would disintegrate. Heinz Mack has not been idle, however, and at his studios in Mönchengladbach and Ibiza has continued his systematic and sensual exploration of reflection, and the chromatic light spectrum and its perceptive thresholds, areas in which his contemporary artist heirs, such as Olafur Eliasson, are also active.

Heinz Mack ‘Spectrum’ (1950-2016), curated by Matthieu Poirier, at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, exhibits more than 70 works, including some early pieces that have never previously been shown in public.

All images © Heinz MACK / ADAGP, Paris, 2016, courtesy Galerie Perrotin

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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Seeing Double – SOTO in Paris + New York

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Doble progresión azul y negra, 1975
Paint on metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Livia Saavedra

Jesús Rafael Soto
Galerie Perrotin
Paris | France
Until 28th February 2015


Jesús Rafael Soto
Galerie Perrotin
New York | USA
Until 21st February 2015

s / t, (Mur bleu), 1966
Paint on wood and metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Guillaume Ziccarelli

Venezuelan kinetic artist, sculptor and painter Jesús Rafael Soto was born in 1923 and died in 2005. He trained at art school in Caracas and went to Paris in 1950, which remained his base for the rest of his life. A recent retrospective at the the Centre Pompidou (2013), and his inclusion in Dynamo. A Century of Light and Movement in Art 1913-2013 at Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris (2013), as well as his inclusion in the current ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s at the Guggenheim Museum in NewYork – in the building where Soto had a major retrospective in 1974 – have all contributed to a much-deserved rediscovery of this internationally-important artist and his oeuvre.

In earlier decades, as will undoubtably be the case now, a great deal was written about Soto (1923 >2005), and, throughout his lifetime he was passionately vociferous in extolling and defending the virtues of kinetic art in numerous and insightful press interviews and letters.

‘I have always tried to make art where given forms, even geometric ones, don’t count. My investigations have nothing to do with the objects themselves. My painting tries to represent movement, vibration, light, space, time, things that exist but which do not have a determined form, and the only way I have found to do this is to attempt to represent the relationships between them. Relationships are an entity, they exist and so they can be represented.
Soto in conversation with Pedro Espinoza Troconis, 1960

In Paris he had attended lectures on constructivism, on Mondrian and neoplasticism. He saw work by Kandinsky and came into contact with Sophie Taeuber- Arp, as well as being drawn to the work of the Bauhaus masters, Moholy-Nagy, Klee and Albers. He would say later: ‘There is no need to see White Square on White Background to appreciate it. It is enough to know the proposition. I saw this painting recently in New York. I was no more moved than by the idea I had already formed of it. I had known of its existence since 1949. Wonderful! I said then. That sums it up. By painting white on white, Malevich was saying: Let’s paint light as light. Let’s lay it directly on the canvas. No need for the objects we normally use to capture it.’
Soto, as quoted by Jean Clay, Jesús Rafael Soto, Visages de l’art moderne, Lausanne, Éditions Rencontre, 1969

Soto exhibited with Calder, Duchamp and Vasarely, among others, in 1955, showing several perspex reliefs. Duchamp’s spiral Rotative Demisphère, was to inspire Soto’s Spirale, a perspex relief that, for the first time, demanded the unconscious involvement of the viewer.

Soto was a big fan of Yves Klein finally meeting him in 1958, just after the opening of Klein’s exhibition ‘Le Vide’ (Emptiness). ‘This empty room was clearly characteristic of the monochrome Yves… I warmly embraced the idea of emptiness…’ he is quoted on the official Soto website as having said afterwards.

In the mid-sixties – Soto having initially been friendly with Victor Vasarely – disparaging of op art and keen to distance himself and those who were working in the area of kinetic art from it, Soto stated: ‘Vasarely is an optical painter, who worked in the spirit of the Bauhaus, but who remains a two-dimensional painter. I, on the other hand, consider myself a kinetic painter.
Soto, in conversation with Carlos Diaz Sosa, 1966

In an earlier letter to Kunsthalle Bern, regarding a forthcoming exhibition Light and Motion / Kinetic art / New Trends in Architecture to which kinetic artists had been invited to contribute, Soto made it clear that: ‘Eager to avoid all confusion between our work [the kinetic artists] and the very different work of the so-called ‘optical’ school, we are particularly concerned that the Bern [exhibition] selection be respected – a selection exclusively founded, as its title suggests, on the idea of real movement. It was indeed contrary to our agreement that a large number of so-called ‘optical’ works were added to the kinetic selection we were presenting with our friends at the Brussels exhibition. We are determined henceforth to prevent this kind of confusion as it can only hinder understanding of our work.
Letter, 1965, Soto archive, Paris

Un orange Inférieur, 1984
Paint on wood and metal

Vibración amarilla y blanca, 1994
Paint on wood and metal, nylon

Pénétrable bbl bleu, 1999 – Edition 2007
PVC, métal / PVC, metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Livia Saavedra

‘For me, art is a science, a way of knowing the universe… Rather than denying space, I have decided to use it… I gradually realised that modern man could no longer look at an artwork at a single glance, as at the Mona Lisa in the Renaissance. There was a physical problem of perception that forced him to decipher, to look at the work as unfolded, like a film, no longer considering it as a work of art.’
Soto, conversation with Jean-Luc Daval, Journal de Genève, Geneva, 1970

Collaborating closely with the architect Oscar Niemeyer, and, after working on them for over a year in 1975, Soto completed the installation of environments in the foyer and in the entrance to the company canteen at the Renault car factory in the Paris suburb, Boulogne-Billancourt. They comprised of architectural integrations involving grids of vibrating squares covering pillars, a 30 metres long Writing piece, and a ceiling covered with 250,000 hanging stalks set close together. ‘We must interpret the values that, thanks to science, completely change our idea of the universe, and we must propose them in our turn through art…’ Soto said in an interview with Ernesto González Bermejo, in 1979. In the same piece he is quoted as having said that we [mankind] have lost the wonderful idea perpetuated by the Greeks, by Medieval and Renaissance artists, of an art of participation, of monumental art. ‘To make a monumental piece,’ he said, ‘no artist can work alone.’

By the 1980s, totally sure of himself and the direction his art was proceeding in, Soto told one author that, ‘If art is to reflect its time it must be at the very forefront of its own concerns, it must reflect avant-garde thought and not limit itself to bearing immediate witness to everyday things.
Marcel Joray, Soto, Neuchâtel, Éditions du Griffon, 1984

‘What is a Pénétrable? It’s the idea of swallowing up the viewer in the artwork.’
Soto, in an interview with Daniel Abadie, Banque Bruxelles Lambert, 1999

Some sixty pieces, produced between 1957 and 2003, from Soto’s estate and various institutions are on show in the Galerie Perrotin Chronochrome exhibitions, taking place simultaneously in its Paris and New York spaces.

Works by Jésus Rafael Soto are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, both in New York, USA; Tate, London, UK; Stadelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, both in The Netherlands; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Jésus Rafael Soto Museum of Modern Art, Ciudad Bolívar, and Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, both in Venezuela; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan.

All works shown by Jesús Rafael Soto
All images © Jesús Rafael Soto / DACS, London / ADAGP, Paris, 2015,
courtesy Galerie Perrotin
Selected quotes from the official SOTO site

Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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