From ZERO to the Chromatic Constellations of the late work, from 1958 to the present: Heinz Mack has covered a lot of ground during his artistic career of more than 60 years. He and his colleagues Otto Piene and Günther Oecker wrote history with the “Stunde Null (Zero Hour)”, the consistent rejection of the painting of the post-war period and an increasing orientation toward light as a material for artistic design. Motorised rotors, light reliefs and kinetic light projections, reflective materials and high-gloss surfaces like aluminium, polished stainless steel or glass; in addition to and parallel with this, the development of a new pictorial language of optical interferences, also in painting, until the last canvas painting, for the time being, was produced in 1968. A renewed turning toward the canvas only took place in 1991, after years of “abstinence”, but with a verve that continues unabated to the present day.
“I now only need canvas, paints and brushes for my painting – nothing else”, the artist explained. “I have given up the painting technique I developed during the ZERO period. I no longer need a special technique. My painting technique is now very simple, my colour forms are very simple; in fact, I try to keep everything as simple as possible, so that I can direct all my attention to painting.”
Also simple are the forms of the Chromatic Constellation of 1999. A painting constructed of neighbouring red colour fields based on the triangle, placed as monochrome colour values next to one another in subtle gradations and flanked by contrasting, narrow stripes in yellow and green. They lend the painting both its tension and its formal footing. A work that satisfies the credo of formal simplicity as much as the ambition of orchestration of the colour values to form a symphony of colour.
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