Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Design | A Tribute to Willy Fleckhaus

Friday, May 19th, 2017

twen, No 2, 1962, cover.
Art direction Willy Fleckhaus
Photography Christa Peters
© MAKK



Willy Fleckhaus.
Design, Revolt, Rainbow
Museum Villa Stuck
Munich | Germany
1 June > 10 September 2017



Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin,
No 28, 1980, cover.
Art direction Willy Fleckhaus
Photographer unknown
© Hans Döring


Edition Suhrkamp,
Suhrkamp Verlag
Book series, 1963.
Design Willy Fleckhaus
© Carsten Wolff,
Fine German Design,
Frankfurt am Main

xxx



David Hillman: ‘In terms of design, twen was the most admired magazine of the sixties… [Fleckaus’s] utterly uncompromising attitude allowed his outrageous and defiant vision to be translated on to the page… No art director has had such power before or since.’

Willy Fleckhaus was born in 1925, and died in 1983. Willy Fleckhaus. Design, Revolt, Rainbow, at Museum Villa Stuck includes over 350 examples of work spanning his entire career in design, magazines and book publishing.

All images courtesy Museum Villa Stuck


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Photography | Juergen Teller: a Kind of Self-portrait

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Kanye, Juergen & Kim, No. 51
Chateau d’Ambleville 2015



Juergen Teller.
Enjoy Your Life!
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
Until 3 July 2017



Anne & Elisa, No. 1
Man About Town

Magazine cover,
spring/summer 2016



Kanye, Juergen & Kim, No. 70
Chateau d’Ambleville 2015



‘I hate nothing more than sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects. So allow me to be honest and tell the truth about our age and its people.’ August Sander (1876 > 1964)

Juergen Teller was born in Germany, in the year that the great German portrait and documentary photographer August Sander died. Like Sander, he doesn’t idealise, and makes no effort to romanticise or prettify his subjects. His sincerity is infectious and the honesty of his approach to his work is inspiring. Nevertheless he likes to have fun, too. ‘What Helmut says goes, what Rei says goes, what Vivienne says goes, what Marc says goes… I take the whole thing seriously, but I couldn’t do a job where I didn’t have any fun, and just to make money,’ he told the Independent newspaper.

Photographing the actress Charlotte Rampling for Marc Jacobs’ 2004 advertising campaign, and including himself in some of the intimate shots – one showed Teller curling up in bed with Rampling, him sucking her toes – was the start of a close working relationship that led to their collaboration on a provocative series of images, involving his own nudity, that would become a book and an exhibition. In 2009, Teller was involved with Vivienne Westwood and Pamela Anderson for an ‘Everything ugly and beautiful at the same time’ campaign that also resulted in a book. Westwood, with whom he continued to work, would also appear, draped over a car on a dirt road, in Teller’s monograph, Keys To The House (2012). ‘In the wider sense, everything is a kind of self-portrait. It’s just the way you see things and how certain things rouse your curiosity and get you all excited,’ he has said. Kanye, Juergen & Kim, a later book published in 2015, contains a series he shot with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian at Château d’Ambleville in France, but no château. Instead he chose to make the most of this rare opportunity alone with them away from the public gaze by capturing the couple – and himself – in seemingly private, intimate moments, out in the open countryside.

Love, Bataclan
Memorial

Paris 2016



My mother,
Plates/Teller, No. 174

2016



Having studied photography in Munich, and speaking no English, Teller had moved to London in 1986 and managed to find work shooting record covers. He photographed Sinéad O’Connor in 1990 then went on tour with Nirvana the following year. His image of Kate Moss for a British Vogue cover in 1994 launched his career as a fashion photographer and by 1996 his success earned him a solo exhibition at London’s Photographers’ Gallery, followed by work for Calvin, and later, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent. He had been involved in advertising campaigns for Marc Jacobs since 1998, his work becoming synonymous with the brand, and the subject of another book Marc Jacobs Advertising 1998 – 2009. His photography has featured in an array of influential international publications such including W Magazine and i-D.

Self-portrait
London 2015



Teller is one of a few artists since Robert Mapplethorpe – an exhibition of whose work he was recently invited to curate at Alison Jacques’ gallery in London – who has been able to straddle both the art world and that of commercial fashion photography.​ Woo, a retrospective of work, opened at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2013 and was the most well attended exhibition in the venue’s history. In 2014, his exhibition MACHO was staged at DESTE Foundation in Athens. His previous exhibitions include Man with Banana (2011), at Dallas Contemporary, Texas, and The Girl With the Broken Nose (2012) at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. His work is included in numerous collections around the world, including the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, International Center for Photography, New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

There are some tricks, there are some poses, but his photography is never sugary, indeed his more personal work can have a very serious, poignant edge to it. What Teller sees and is interested in is essentially, what you get. His unique vision has led to him becoming regarded by many as one of the world’s great contemporary photographers.

Juergen Teller. Enjoy Your Life! was shown previously at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn and the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. It’s now a must see at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.

All images © Juergen Teller, courtesy Bundeskunsthalle


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Art | Drawing: a Place in Space

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Hermann Glöckner,
From the series: 3 Phases, 1980
Foldings, tempera on cardboard,
Deutsche Bank Collection
at
the Städel Museum,
Frankfurt am Main
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017



Into the Third Dimension:
Spatial Concepts on Paper from
the Bauhaus to the Present
Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
15 February > 14 May 2017



Globalisation has created a situation where, too often, the larger galleries and museums around the world choose to gather material from a wide variety of collections and private sources, which combine to produce blockbuster exhibitions that might have the advantage of being comprehensive, but lack any sense of place. This one is different.

Despite the work included having been produced by an international array of artists 13 artists, among them Argentine-born Lucio Fontana (founder, in Italy, in 1947 of the Spatialism (Spazialismo) movement), Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida, and the American artists, Sol LeWitt, who produced countless spatialist works in the latter decades of the 20th century and on into the 21st, and James Turrell, who, during the same period used projected light to create illusionary geometric bodies, the vast majority of it is drawn from the Museum’s own extensive holdings, which gives the show a strong local flavour.

El Lissitzky
Proun. Kestner Portfolio 1
(sheet IV), 1923
Lithograph
Städel Museum,
Frankfurt am Main



Sol LeWitt
Distorted Cubes (B), 2001
Lino cut
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017



Eduardo Chillida
Yunque de sueños VII
(Anvil of Dreams VII),
1954 > 1959

Iron and wood,
Städel Museum,
Frankfurt am Main
© Zabalaga-Leku /
VG Bild-Kunst,
Bonn 2017



It had been the cubists, in Paris in the early 1900s, sticking pieces of newspaper, wallpaper, tickets and packaging on to the paper or canvas surfaces on which they were working, who pioneered the spatial concept, but they soon moved on to pursue other interests. El Lissitsky, a Russian, and Hungarian Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, however, while both based in Germany during the 1920s, experimented extensively with spatial ideas, producing work that would have enormous, international impact. Important examples of these from the Städel’s permanent collection including Lissitsky’s Proun (1923) portfolio of graphic works, and Moholy-Nagy’s Constellations (1923) portfolio of prints, are used as an introduction to the exhibition.

László Moholy-Nagy
Construction, 1924
Oil on canvas
Permanent loan of
Commerzbank AG,
Frankfurt am Main



The Museum is also displaying a selection of works by important German spatial art masters, Hermann Glöckner (1889-1987) and Norbert Kricke (1922–1984), who were both strongly influenced by constructivism. Glöckner, was one of former East Germany’s leading abstract artists, who, from 1935 started to create collage-like, folded pieces that tested the notion of a shallow pictorial solid and foreshadowed 1960s minimalism, while in post-war Düsseldorf, Kricke began producing sculptures made from welded together metal rods that reached out dynamically into space.

The Third Dimension: Spatial Concepts on Paper from the Bauhaus to the Present at the Städel Museum might be dominated by works on paper, but, of course, due to the nature of its subject, also features sculpture and even some paintings on canvas.

All photos Städel Museum – Artothek, Frankfurt am Main, courtesy Städel Museum


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Design | 100 Best German-Speaking Posters

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Striped Hills
Designed by Timo Lenzen, Germany
For Durex China, Shanghai
(via S-LAB, Beijing/Shanghai).
Digital print
© Timo Lenzen/100 Beste Plakate eV



100 Best Posters 15
Germany Austria Switzerland /
100 Beste Plakate 15
Deutschland Österreich Schweiz
MAK
Vienna | Austria
28 September 2016 > 5 February 2017



Hello Hello
Designed by Yvo Hählen
+ Priscilla Balmer, A3 studio, Switzerland

Commissioned by the artists.
Digital print
© A3 studio/100 Beste Plakate eV



More than 2000 were entered by 125 agencies and graphic design studios, 465 individual designers and 15 clients, and 964 posters made it through to the final round of the Vienna-based competition. In the true spirit of fairness which the organisers pride themselves upon, only two posters from Austria itself will appear in the 100-strong exhibition, along with 50 by Swiss designers and 48 from Germany.

Was glaubst du, wer du bist? /
Who do you think you are?
Designed by Günter Karl Bose
+ Uwe Langner,
LMN-Berlin, Germany
For Theater Bonn.
Digital print
© LMN-Berlin/100 Beste Plakate eV



Zwickl – Schwandorfer Dokumentarfilmtage 2015 /
Zwickl – Schwandorf documentary film days 2015
Designed by Oliver Hofmann + Benjamin Buchegger
+ Daniel Car, Beton – Gruppe für Gestaltung, Austria
For City of Schwandorf, Anne Schleicher.
Offset print
© Beton – Gruppe für Gestaltung/100 Beste Plakate eV



The most popular graphic design competition in the German-speaking world, the formidable jury consisting of chairman Gunter Rambow (Germany) , Günter Eder (Vienna) and Megi Zumstein (Lucerne), is augmented by Barcelona and Berlin-based, British designer Patrick Thomas, and Latvian-born, Igor Gurovich, graphic designer and tutor at the National Design Institute (Moscow).

Design x Taipei
Designed Jianping He, Hesign, Germany
For Taiwan Poster Association, Taipei.
Silk-screen print
© Hesign/100 Beste Plakate eV



Howlong Wolf
Design Isabelle Mauchle, Switzerland
For Neubad, Lucerne.
Digital print
© Isabelle Mauchle/100 Beste Plakate eV



According to Rambow, who has been designing since 1960, is a former professor of graphic design at the University of Kassel and of Visual Communication at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, and who regularly designs the posters for the Frankfurt Opera, the poster scene is on the move. New tendencies from youth culture are becoming visible, he says, and many graffiti sprayers have become designers. However, ‘Although they have always had intense competition, posters as images in public space will maintain their significance,’ he reassures us.

A catalogue for the MAK exhibition 100 Best Posters 15. Germany Austria Switzerland / 100 Beste Plakate 15. Deutschland Österreich Schweiz (Atlas 15), by Anita Kühnel will be available at the MAK Design Shop.

All images courtesy MAK


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Exhibition | Globalsportsfashionisation

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Walter Van Beirendonck
Cycling Trousers from
Crossed Crocodiles Growl Collection,
Antwerp A/W 2014




Sports / No Sports
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Hamburg | Germany
2 September 2016 > 20 August 2017



… A great many of the people wore sports clothes which were not really sports clothes. Their sweaters, knickers, slacks, blue flannel jackets with brass buttons were fancy dress. The fat lady in the yachting cap was going shopping, not boating; the man in the Norfolk jacket and Tyrolean hat was returning, not from a mountain, but an insurance office; and the girl in slacks and sneaks with a bandanna around her head had just left a switchboard, not a tennis court.
The Day of the Locust, Nathaneal West, 1939




Tom Ford
Sequin Dress,
New York A/W 2014
Hamburger Kunstsammlungen Foundation



With 110 items of clothing, models, sketches and looks, and including 40 brands, designers and couturiers, among others Adidas, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Chanel, Christian Dior, Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh, Hussein Chalayan, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Maison Martin Margiela, Puma, Raf Simons, Speedo, Tom Ford, Triumph, Viktor & Rolf Atelier, Yohji Yamamoto, Yves Saint Laurent, the exhibition Sports / No Sports at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) explores the correlation between fashion and sportswear with a focus on social, formal and aesthetic contexts.

Images courtesy and © Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg


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Art | Richard Deacon: Thinking & Drawing

Friday, August 5th, 2016

10.03.12, 2012
Ink and pencil



Richard Deacon
Drawings and Prints 1968 > 2016
Museum Folkwang
Essen | Germany
26 August > 13 November 2016



Untitled, 1975
Pen, pencil and paper collage



2D drawing would seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum to 3D sculpture. Indeed, internationally acclaimed British sculptor Richard Deacon has, alongside sketches and studies for his 3D pieces, from early on in his career that spans for decades, produced drawings independently from his sculpture work.



Landscape Division, 2012
Woodblock on kozo
paper, collaged on Arches
watercolour paper



Best known for the large, lyrical open forms of his compact and large scale sculptures, combining organic forms with elements of engineering, Deacon constantly reveals new interpretations of the relationship between the perception of inside and outside, and of what is open and closed.



Inside Out #2, 2013
Marker and ballpoint pen



Some Interference 7.08.05 (1), 2005
Ink and pencil



Passionate about drawing, and in keeping with his deep-rooted interest in philosophy, Deacon believes it has a close relationship to thinking. And his parallel disciplines are not wholly unconnected either, one discernibly influencing the other.



London #5, 1998
R-type print with collaged
drawing of ink and pencil



Almost all the 150 items in Richard Deacon Drawings and Prints 1968 > 2016, this first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the artist’s graphic works, at Essen’s Museum Folkwang, which includes a selection of prints, have never been shown in public before.

All work © Richard Deacon, courtesy Museum Folkwang


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Exhibitions | Visions of Architectopia

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Archigram (Ron Herron),
Instant City – Local parts, 1970
© Deutsches Architekturmuseum




Constant – New Babylon
Gemeentemuseum den Haag
The Hague | The Netherlands
> 25 September 2016

+

Superstudio 50
MAXXI Museum
Rome | Italy
> 4 September 2016

+

Yesterday’s Future
Visionary designs by Future Systems and Archigram
Deutsches Architekturmuseum / DAM
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
> 18 September 2016

+

Frederick Kiesler. Life Visions
Museum für angewandte Kunst / MAK
Vienna | Austria
> 2 October 2016




Frederick Kiesler,
View of the Raumstadt (City in Space), 1925,
Exposition internationale des Arts
décoratifs et industriels modernes, Paris, 1925
© 2016 Austrian Frederick and
Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation, Vienna



Unconsciously coordinated and complementary, a cluster of exhibitions this summer in The Netherlands, Italy, and Austria, celebrates the utopian visions of Constant, Friedrich Kiesler, Superstudio, Future Systems and Archigram, respectively. Once considered outlandish, even silly, the avant garde experiments of these early and late twentieth century architect pioneers is exerting a strong influence on mainstream contemporary architecture and city planning.

Artist, designer, architect, set and exhibition designer with revolutionary, utopian concepts, Frederick Kiesler (1890>1965) was born in a remote corner of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, (now Ukraine), and studied architecture and painting in Vienna, where, amongst luminaries that included Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, and Adolf Loos, he would become obsessed with the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Developing out of his experimental theatre ideas that dissolved the separation between spectators and actors and integrated both in a unified space, in his Raumstadt (City in Space) (1925) Kiesler proposed a model for the city of the future. Having drafted his Manifeste du Corréalisme during a trip to Paris, at the invitation of Marcel Duchamp and Andre Bréton, he wrote that the elements of construction – whether for a city, a chair, or a house – should be a ‘nucleus of possibilities’ developed and transformed in relation to its environment. In 1926, he relocated to New York, where he would eventually install a model of his Endless House at New York’s Museum of Modern Art 1960 show, Visionary Architecture. Meanwhile, Frederick Kiesler. Life Visions at Vienna’s Museum für angewandte Kunst / MAK, is a portal into Kiesler’s complex world and thought processes.

Future Systems (Jan Kaplický + Amanda Levete),
Manhattan with ‘Coexistence (Project 112)’
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1989
© Kaplicky Centre, Prague



With 44 exhibits from each group, Yesterday’s Future: Visionary designs by Future Systems and Archigram at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum / DAM focuses on detailed technical drawings, brightly coloured collages and original models. The works by Czech architect and founder of Future Systems, Jan Kaplický, who emigrated to London in 1968, date from the 1980s and 1990s and are juxtaposed against designs created 20 years before by the Archigram architectural group that comprised Peter Cook, Ron Herron, and Dennis Crompton. The space architecture by Archigram was created around the time of the Moon landing in an era shaped by new beginnings. In contrast, Future Systems designed its self-sufficient, machine-like living capsules for a gloomy world at the height of the Cold War. Whereas Archigram conceived organic architecture that ensured survival in inhospitable environments, Future Systems technologically sophisticated designs were located in more accessible natural surroundings or in concentrated, built-up cities. Intended as suggestions for living, working and for survival at times of social upheaval, the majority of the utopian designs by both groups never left the drawing board.

Installation at the exhibition
Adolfo Natalini Superarchitettura,
Galleria Jolly 2, Pistoia 1966
Photo C Toraldo di Francia
Superstudio 50, MAXXI Museum



Founded in 1966 by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, who were later joined by four others, Superstudio was one of the most influential groups in radical twentieth century Italian architecture. Superstudio 50 at Rome’s MAXXI Museum presents 200 items, ranging from installations to objects, from graphic works to photographs, with publications covering the entire career and development of the group. The exhibition includes the most important drawings, photomontages and installations from The Continuous Monument series (1969), the Architectural Histograms (1969-70) and The Twelve Ideal Cities (1971), projects through which the Superstudio attempted to demonstrate the possibilities and the limits of architecture, and were intended as a critique of contemporary society.

Constant Nieuwenhuys,
Klein Labyr, maquette, 1959
New Babylon, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag



Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920 > 2005), a leading member of the CoBrA group, expressed his ideas for a new world in New Babylon (1974), one of the largest and most visionary projects in post-war architectural history. The vast majority of the works associated with it are in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag collection, but have never before been displayed in all their diversity. Constant – New Babylon at Gemeentemuseum den Haag, including extensive documentation and reconstructions, is one of the largest exhibitions ever presented on this key work.

All images courtesy the respective exhibition venues


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Exhibition | Comic Strip Originals

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Charles Forbell, Naughty Pete,
The New York Herald, 23 October, 1913
Private collection



Pioneers of the Comic Strip
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Until 18 September 2016



Lyonel Feininger, The Kin-der-Kids,
Sunday page, Chicago Tribune, 29 April 1906
Collection Achim Moeller, New York,
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016



It was the mass-produced, throwaway quality of comic book art that first attracted the interest of pop artists in the 1950s, who set about reproducing carefully selected details from them as large paintings. In consequence, wider attention was drawn toward the exceptional qualities of the original source of this inspiration: the newspaper comic strip. Countless millions of these were printed, and many more produced, but few from the trailblazing, early years have survived.

Cliff Sterrett, Polly and Her Pals, detail
13 November 1927
Private collection



Frank King, Gasoline Alley,
The Denver Post, 24 August, 1930
Private collection,
© Estate of Frank King



Although the format had existed in Britain since the early 1880s – Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, first published on 3 May 1884 is regarded as the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character – comic strips first began to appear in American newspapers in 1897, immediately captivating the middle and working classes, as well as fascinating newly arrived immigrants. Their success there in the early 20th century was integral to the meteoric rise of newspapers as mass media that, due to the development of high-performance printing presses and decreasing paper costs, became affordable for all US citizens.

Comic strips would gain such importance that the growth or decline of a newspaper became dependent on their popularity, and they became tactical weapons in the war between American media barons, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland,
The New York Herald, 23 September, 1906
Private collection



Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt’s new exhibition, Pioneers of the Comic Strip, presents around 230 rare examples produced between 1905 and the 1940s, including original drawings, and features six outstanding, primarily American illustrators, who shaped the genre’s early history: Winsor McCay, Lyonel Feininger, Charles Forbell, Cliff Sterrett, George Herriman, and Frank King.

All images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt


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Photography | Isolating Thomas Struth

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Periphery,
Max Planck IPP, Garching 2009
Chromogenic print



Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
11 June > 18 September 2016



Aquarium, Atlanta 2013
Chromogenic print



Surprisingly, German photographer Thomas Struth, who is based in Berlin and is – according to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an unparalleled collection of his work – ‘one of the most important and influential photographers of the last half-century’ hasn’t had a retrospective in the city since 2004.

Having first studied art under Gerhard Richter, then photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher from 1973 to 1980, Struth (b 1954) won a scholarship to New York, where he would produce Streets of New York City, a series of intense, deserted panoramas, that earned him his first solo exhibition there, at MoMA PS1, in 1978.

Catapulted to success, retrospective exhibitions of his work began early in his career –Kunsthalle Bern (1987), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1994), Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (1998), Dallas Museum of Art (2002), Museo de Art de Lima (2005) – and in 2011 London’s Whitechapel Gallery presented Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 – 2010.

Basilica of the Annunciation,
Nazareth 2014

Inkjet print



Ride, Anaheim 2013
Chromogenic print



Research Vehicle,
Armstrong Flight
Research Center,
Edwards 2014

Inkjet print



But blockbuster retrospectives – as fashionable as they have become – while useful as reminders of the range and chronology of an artist’s development, can be overwhelming affairs that render the viewer, who can at best expect to be left with only an overview, grappling with a surfeit of competing concepts, each vying for their attention, confused and dissatisfied.

Perhaps by not being seen in isolation the work, too, sometimes suffers. Struth’s photographs may appear disarmingly matter-of-fact, but the thought processes behind them is deep and philosophical. Museum Photographs (1989 > 1992) – a large-scale colour series, consisting of voyeuristic observations of crowds of visitors, which reveals how historic paintings exhibited in famous museums are experienced today, requires time and space to be fully appreciated. It can be displayed alongside his earlier black-and-white portraits of individuals and almost unbearably frank depictions of family groups, or with his serene, unpopulated New Pictures from Paradise jungle images of the 1990s, but each of these also deserves proper consideration.

Although it’s only a matter of time before a major retrospective of Struth’s work is shown there, perhaps, for the moment, Berlin is getting it right.

Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics – the photographer’s first exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau – is not a retrospective, but a carefully composed survey of just 37 large-format photographs of work from the years 2005 to 2016. It homes in on the photographer’s more recent and ongoing preoccupation with the creation of images of the highly complex apparatus, structures and constructions that humankind is able to imagine and build that shape our everyday, contemporary, existence.

All images by and © Thomas Struth, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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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 | 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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