Otto Piene - Untitled
Rasterbild: mixed media and traces of fire on panel. 50 x 42 cm. Framed. Signed (scratched) and dated 'OPiene' (joined) '1958/72'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.
Otto Piene's Grid Pictures are counted among the artist's most important series of works that drastically influenced his oeuvre. Their early creation coincides with the foundation of the ZERO group, a formation of artists that Piene founded with Heinz Mack in 1958. In the same year, Piene also created the grid which constitutes the origin of the present work that was executed in 1972.
The new beginnings implied by ZERO are evident in the abandonment of traditional pictorial design techniques as well as the inclusion of light and fire as artistic means of composition. The Grid Pictures depict a characteristic distance which the artist adopts with regards to his work by no longer applying paint to the ground with a brush but by letting it drip through a stencil sieve. Piene subsequently reworked some works with fire, its physical forces involuntarily impacting the structure of the grid formation. The vivid expressive power created by Piene through the raised structure of the vibrant colour lays the foundation of his “light painting”.
Piene's Grid Pictures free “the light from its illuminating function and make it the carrier of the picture's movement. In order to lend dynamic force to the pictorial space, to make it swing and vibrate, the artist mainly works with colours that are highly reflective - such as white, yellow, silver and red - and which furthermore have a high value of light and energy. For Piene, the dullness of colour, especially the gradated colours evident in Tachism, was symbolic of the dullness of men, which also transposes the observer to a state of gloom. The purity of light - as one of the basic ideas of Zero - was intended to awaken pure sensations, the bundled energy of light of the Grid Pictures was intended to influence the energy of the sighted person: the passive observer transformed into an active one liberated from the traditional role of the recipient”. (Susanne Rennert, Raster, Rauch, Feuer in: Stephan von Wiese et al (ed.), Otto Piene, exhib. cat. Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, 1996, p.51).
Galerie Heseler, Munich (label verso); private possession, South Germany
Munich 1972 (Galerie Heseler), Otto Piene, Lichtballett und Künstler der Gruppe Zero, no.120 (escept catalogue) (label verso)