Heinz Mack

(1931 in Lollar, Germany)

After World War Two, Heinz Mack played a leading role during a period of great experimentation. During this period, artists were exploring the meanings and dynamics of artistic production and the obliteration of the barriers between art and life-nature. 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 differed itself from the other styles of European and American abstract expressionism which dominated the art scene in the 50s. Contrarily to them, ZERO called 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. ZERO’s artists incorporated unusual materials and techniques linked to industrial production, such as metal, glass, plastic, water vapour, heat and electricity. Another important aspect of ZERO’ style is that their works become real entities that interact with the space around them. In Mack’s work, the relation between light and space, and the interaction with materials, is fundamental. Emblematic of his style are his actions and installations in the Sahara Desert and the frozen lands of the Arctic. From the 1950s, the modulation of the metal structure of his paintings has constantly changed.  Mack’s paintings appear always different to the spectator according to the refraction of light on them and the viewer’s point of view. The constant change aims to be  a symbol for 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.