Together with Heinz Mack, Otto Piene founded the internationally renowned artist group ZERO, to which Günther Uecker later became affiliated, and which perceived itself as a counter-movement to the prevailing informal/gestural art of the time. ZERO'S response to Abstract Expressionism was a highly reductive and controlled art.
In a vigorous exploration of the themes of light, movement and space, Otto Piene began creating "smoke and fire paintings" from the 1960s onwards, by altering, blackening and even scorching his canvases with fire. As fire, light and colour unite, the destructive traces of the fire form residues on the ground of the painting, whose beauty and expressivity are further reinforced by poetic and associative titles.
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