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Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia 18 May 2019 : Fawz Kabra for Ocula

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to the...

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Reiko Tomii Ocula Conversation Reiko Tomii

In 1969, Horikawa Michio, schoolteacher and member of the artist collective GUN (Group Ultra Niigata), filled out the customs paperwork to mail a one-kilogram river stone from Niigata, the proverbial 'backside of Japan', to President Nixon. In return, Horikawa received a thank you note for this 'most unusual Christmas gift'—a muted anti-war...

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Yun Hyong-keun in Venice: The Artist Behind the Paintings Ocula Report Yun Hyong-keun in Venice: The Artist Behind the Paintings 4 May 2019 : Sherry Paik for Ocula

'He was not a "political" kind of person. He just wanted to be honest and straight. But it was not easy in Korea to live like that,' writes curator Kim Inhye on artist Yun Hyong-keun. For much of his life, Yun lived in proximity to some of the most tumultuous moments in modern Korean history, from which he emerged as a pioneer of abstract...

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Otto Piene

(1928 - 2014), Germany

Otto Piene studied art at the Hochschule für Bildenden Künste in Munich and the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and then philosophy at Cologne University, graduating in 1957. In the same year he developed the Grid Picture, a type of stencilled painting made from half-tone screens with regularly arranged points in single colours (yellow, silver, white or gold). The vibrating pattern and slight shadow in these works, which were first shown in September 1957 at an evening exhibition in Piene’s studio in Düsseldorf seemed to take the play of light itself as their theme. Their objectivity lay in their lack of any subjective painterly gestures.

The connection between art, nature and technology remained the goal of Piene’s work, first of all within the Zero group and then, from 1974, as the successor to György Kepes as director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. There Piene's work developed in a variety of forms. The Light Ballets (from 1959) were a development of the Grid Pictures: light from moving torches was projected through grids, thus extending and stimulating the viewer’s perception of space. At the same time the combination of these grids with sources of fire (candles, gas-burners) produced smoke-traces and fire paintings, in which the paint was burnt. From 1962 he produced the Black Sun paintings and the Fauna and Flora paintings, which again make explicit reference to the theme of nature. This led in 1967 to Piene’s involvement with 'Sky Art', a term he coined in 1969, which allowed him to use landscape and cities themselves as the focal point of his work. In 1972 he produced the Olympic Rainbow for the XX Olympiad in Munich, made up of five differently coloured helium-filled polythene tubes, each one 600 m long.

From 1998 onwards he developed immersive light rooms, utilising projections to alternate light intensity, colour and form for various museums such as the Kunsthalle Bremen. In 2008, Otto Piene founded the international ZERO foundation with Günther Uecker, Heinz Mack and Mattijs Visser. The foundation houses the ZERO group archives from the three Düsseldorfer artists as well as documents and photos from other related artists that include: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely.

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Featured Artworks

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Es brennt by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneEs brennt, 1966 Oil, fire and smoke marks on canvas
79.6 x 99.8 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Red Sundew 2 by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneRed Sundew 2, 1970 Red silk, polyethelene, electric fans
302 x 560 x 122 cm
Sprüth Magers
Goldregen by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneGoldregen, 2014 Gold glaze on clay
63 x 63 x 3 cm
Sprüth Magers
untitled by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto Pieneuntitled, 1960 Gouache and smoke marks on paper
7.3 x 21.4 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Rauchzeichnung by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneRauchzeichnung, 1959 Gouache and smoke marks on hand-inked cardboard
8 x 13.5 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Feuergouache by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneFeuergouache, 1963 Gouache, pigment and fire on firm vellum paper
26 x 38 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Ghost (Red) by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneGhost (Red), 1966/2014 Glass. light bulbs, metal base and timber
200 x 60 cm
Sprüth Magers
Blue Star Linz by Otto Piene contemporary artwork Otto PieneBlue Star Linz, 1980 Fabric inflatable
Sprüth Magers

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, 25 Years of Passion at Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf
Closed
2 April–11 May 2019 Group Exhibition 25 Years of Passion Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf
Contemporary art exhibition, Otto Piene, Otto Piene at Sprüth Magers, Berlin
Closed
1 February–6 April 2019 Otto Piene Otto Piene Sprüth Magers, Berlin
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Thank you for the Flowers at Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf
Closed
6 July–1 September 2018 Group Exhibition Thank you for the Flowers Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Düsseldorf

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

On The Autobahn: A Report From North Rhine-Westphalia Ocula Report On The Autobahn: A Report From North Rhine-Westphalia 21 Jan 2015 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

Project 25/25/25 is a quintessentially “NRW” affair. Celebrating 25 Years of the Arts Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunstiftung NRW), this expansive exhibition—which started in 2014 and will continue into 2015—pairs 25 artists with a constellation of 25 municipal museums spread out over a vast territory that makes up...

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In Related Press

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Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art steps back in time with its playful new exhibition Zero Related Press Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art steps back in time with its playful new exhibition Zero ABC News : 27 June 2018

One of the most striking works in MONA's new exhibition, Zero, consists of a black wall covered in a meticulous grid of identical clear plastic bags filled with water. Curator Mattijs Visser cheerfully points out that it could be made at home.This observation is interrupted by the sound of smashing glass from the gallery next door. In it, visitors...

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Zero reimagined: a new take on an old artistic vision Related Press Zero reimagined: a new take on an old artistic vision The Guardian : 16 June 2018

When Otto Piene was a teenager in Germany during the second world war, German citizens were ordered to black out windows so allied aircraft couldn't see them.It was impossible to black them out entirely, though, and during the day the sun would shine through tiny cracks and chinks in the window coverings. Years later, when the violence and anxiety...

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Surprises and Innovations Abound at Art Basel Related Press Surprises and Innovations Abound at Art Basel The New York Times : 15 June 2017

Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, said Hong Kong has its galleries, while Miami is known for its private collections and Basel for its museums.For all the obvious differences among these cities, when the Art Basel fair visits them each year, it anchors its shows in the same way, with a large showcase of presentations by...

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Glasgow International festival tackles demise of UK's once-great, heavy industries Related Press Glasgow International festival tackles demise of UK's once-great, heavy industries The Art Newspaper : 12 April 2016

Glasgow International, the biennial contemporary art festival which opens its seventh edition today (until 25 April), focuses on a particularly potent theme in today’s economic climate: the demise of heavy industry, and how cultural spaces have sprung up in spaces in the Scottish city once occupied by major shipbuilding, textiles and...

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