Cortesi Gallery, Lugano
Heinz Mack: The Visible Reminder of Invisible Light
Curated by Mario Codognato
11 May – 22 July 2016
Opening: Wednesday 11 May, 6 – 8.30pm
Cortesi Gallery is delighted to present Heinz Mack. The Visible Reminder of Invisible Light, an exhibition in Lugano dedicated to the renowned German artist.
Heinz Mack (Lollar, Germany, 1931) played a leading role during a period of great experimentation and exploration of the meanings and dynamics of artistic production and the obliteration of the barriers between art and life and art and nature that characterized the post–World War Two era.
With Otto Piene, a fellow student at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf, Mack founded ZERO, which has become one the most important and innovative art movements of the 20th century.
ZERO distanced itself from the gestual style of European and American abstract expressionism that dominated the art scene in the 50s, instead calling for a formal purity in contrast to the devastation and tragedy of the just-ended war.
The artists who joined the movement favoured monochrome over expressive or strongly materialistic painting, preferring a minimalist aesthetic and a focus on the transformative power of light.
Incorporating unusual materials and techniques linked to industrial pro- duction rather than art, such as metal, glass, plastic, water vapour, heat and electricity, their works became real entities that interacted with the space around them.
In Mack’s work in particular, the relation between light and space, and the interaction with materials, is fundamental. Signifcant in this context are his actions and installations in the Sahara desert and the frozen lands of the Arctic, virgin territories, uncontaminated by humans and civilization.
The exhibition in Lugano presents several of Mack’s most important works from the 50s, evocatively illustrating the development of his poetry and his research into the next decade.
The modulation of the metal structure of his paintings was constantly changing during this period: their visual nature, as well as their presence in the environment through the refraction of light and the viewer’s movement around them, made them partners of the changes, the randomness and the chaos of life.
Mack’s work creates an open space that invites subjectivity, allowing and calling for interpretations by the viewer.