Black Melt & Light Rays

Nov 20, 2016 Feb 18, 2017

Gallery Ludorff Königsallee 22 Dusseldorf

Otto Piene. Black Melt & Light Rays

Light is the primary condition for all visibility. […] Light is the life-substance both of men and of painting

Otto Piene

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.

Philipp Ziegler

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.

About Otto Piene

Otto Piene´s pioneering amalgamation of art, science and technology have made him one of the most influential personalities of post-war art. Through founding the artists' group ZERO in 1958 with Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker, Piene proclaimed a new era in Western art.

Artworks in this exhibition
Exhibition catalog