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b. 1931, Germany

Heinz Mack Biography

German artist Heinz Mack is best known for his monumental outdoor sculptures and contributions to 20th-century light and kinetic art–particularly as a co-founder of the influential post-war ZERO Group. Mack has, however, experimented with a wide variety of mediums ranging from light-reliefs, paintings, drawings, and photographs, to sculpture made of materials such as stone, light-rotors, and light-stelae.

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Mack's artistic career began with his studies in the mid-1950s at Düsseldorf's Kunstakademie. In 1956, he earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Cologne. After graduation and along with fellow German artist Otto Piene, Mack co-founded the significant post-war avantgarde group ZERO in Düsseldorf. The group rejected the popular expressive, abstract painting of the time, and instead used light and motion to explore new modes of perception. The group attracted artists Günther Uecker, Yves Klein, and Lucio Fontana, amongst others. In a 2014 interview with Ocula Magazine, Mack said of the artists involved with the ZERO movement, 'Each one of us worked alone, experimenting with colour and light, or, in my case, the concentration of space in its relation to the sculpture and vice versa. All this went along with recognitions, perceptions, ideas and some intellectual effort.'

Though the ZERO group disbanded in the mid-1960s, that short period was critical for the development of Mack's practice. Experimentations with unconventional materials, light and kinetics saw the birth of his kinetic 'Steles'. Light played a central role in sculptures such as Stele with 9 Lenses (1964), which used glass lenses. Artworks from the early 'Stele' group also included motors to generate movement and variations of light and shadow.

Alongside these sculptures, Mack's abstract paintings were informed by his interest in light and darkness. The monochromatic and graphic play with black-and-white resin lines on cloth in Vibration (1957–58) exemplifies his penchant for Minimalism. Later, Mack turned to painting with pure, bright colours in a style that he called 'Chromatic Constellations'. Exemplary of this, the acrylic-on-canvas painting Empire Couleur (Chromatic Constellation) (2014) comprises stripes in a spectrum of colours and fragments that blend softly into one another at their edges. In such works, Mack creates different intervals, patterns, and sequences of colour that seem to float on constantly changing surfaces.

Mack has exhibited internationally since 1959 and his works are held in over 130 international public collections. In his early career, he participated in the historic II. documenta (1959) and documenta III (1964), as well as representing the Federal Republic of Germany at the Venice Biennale of 1970. Throughout his career, his multi-faceted artwork has been presented in almost 300 solo exhibitions, while a number of books as well as two films have been made about his practice.

Heinz Mack Solo Exhibitions include:

Heinz Mack: Mouvement et Lumière/Movement and Light, Musée Théodore Monod d'art africain, Dakar (2019); Mack – Just Light and Color, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul (2016); Transit between Occident and Orient, Pergamon Museum Berlin (2006); Heinz Mack, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2001); Heinz Mack, Liechtenstein State Art collection, Vaduz (1998); Mack, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973).

Heinz Mack Group Exhibitions include:

Action Reaction. 100 Years of Kinetic Art, Kunsthal Rotterdam (2018); ZERO. Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s−60s, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); Berlin − Moskau/Moskau – Berlin, Staatliches Historisches Museum, Moscow (2003–2004); Deutsche Kunst 1945−1985, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1985); Prospect: Retrospect. Europa 1946−1976, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (1976); The Responsive Eye, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1965).

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2021

Heinz Mack, Transparency and Radiance (2009). Acrylic, Fresnel lens and electricity. 63 x 44.5 x 44.5 cm. Courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.

Heinz Mack Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Chromatic Constellation) by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackUntitled (Chromatic Constellation), 2016Acrylic paint on canvas
212 x 224 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Light-Rain by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackLight-Rain, 2002Stainless steel and acrylic
205 x 35 x 9 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Veil of Light by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackVeil of Light, 1964Aluminium, acrylic and stainless steel
172 x 132 x 62 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackUntitled, 1958Wood, mirror, aluminium and stainless steel
122 x 25 x 40 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Sommergarten (Chromatische Konstellation) by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackSommergarten (Chromatische Konstellation), 2005Acrylic on canvas
129 x 160 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art Contact Gallery
untitled (Dynamische Struktur) by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz Mackuntitled (Dynamische Struktur), 1961Oil and resin on canvas
37.5 x 58 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art Contact Gallery
Lichtrelief by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackLichtrelief, 1958Aluminium relief on panel
36.5 x 44 x 4 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art Contact Gallery
Schachraster mit Netz by Heinz Mack contemporary artwork
Heinz MackSchachraster mit Netz, 1972Aluminium on wood under glass
51 x 51 x 3 cm
Axel Vervoordt Gallery Contact Gallery

Heinz Mack Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Heinz Mack Represented By

Galeria Nara Roesler contemporary art gallery in São Paulo, Brazil Galeria Nara Roesler New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo

Heinz Mack In Ocula Magazine

Heinz Mack In Related Press

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