Light is the primary condition for all visibility. […] Light is the life-substance both of men and of painting
The prevailing feature of Otto Piene’s works over the last sixty years is the thorough investigation of the themes of light, space, and movement. Light plays a significant role in all of the artist’s works.
For Piene, the painting is a continuous force field, which bundles the energy of light into a vital visual experience. The experience of natural phenomena through the medium of art characterizes his works from the early raster and fire paintings, the light-kinetic works of light ballet and light sculptures, the pneumatic sculptures – so-called Inflatables –, the large-scale projects of Sky Art from the 1970s and 1980s through to his most recently produced ceramics speak to people directly; they facilitate the emergence of a reconciliatory symbiosis of man, technology, and nature.
While his sculptural work concentrates on reflections and the movement of light, his paintings are capturing traces of natural phenomena. Early works incorporate soot that is being transferred onto the surface by using burning candles. From the early 1960s on, Piene goes even further and sets his works on fire. By doing so the destructive blaze is being turned into an instrument of creative transformation.
The first smoke paintings were produced around 1961/1962 in which fire was the decisive creative element. The heat of fire that Piene ignited on the canvas generated rings, crusts and bubbles in the painting’s color layer, which extend the previously predominant circular forms. The rapid extinguishing of the fire within a few seconds decided the success of the painting. Here, for Piene, the process of burning does not have a destructive effect, but, on the contrary, it is a process that can create something new.
Black Melt & Light Rays
The directors of Galerie Ludorff are pleased to announce their first solo-exhibition PIENE. Black Melt & Light Rays of ZERO-co-founder Otto Piene. The show brings together 26 works, which were selected in close collaboration with the artist´s estate, led by Elizabeth Goldring-Piene.