Günther Uecker. Komische Vision (5 Lichtscheiben), 1961-81. Nägel auf Leinwand auf Holz. Elektromotor, Scheinwerfer, 240x40. Privatsammlung, Düsseldorf.

Perhaps best known for his work with nails – canvases or objects decorated with nails, often painted white – German-born sculptor and installation artist Günther Uecker has played an influential part within the European avant-garde in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Uecker’s primary interest resides in working with the effects of light and optical phenomena. He moves away from two-dimensional painting by piercing the canvas with nails, allowing light and shadow to become the subject matter of his relief-like works. The resulting works evoke a special sense of light, space, movement and time. The artist uses light and electricity as key elements in his art, incorporates natural materials such as sand and wind in his installations, and works with movable sculpture.

In 1958 Günther Uecker takes part in the exhibition Das Rote Bild (The Red Picture), arranged by Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, the founders of ZERO. The exhibition, which is held in their studio in Düsseldorf, is Uecker’s first. In the years that follow he maintains close ties to ZERO, becoming an official member in 1961. Together with founders Mack and Piene, Uecker is a key member of the association, which seeks to take painting back to a point zero, allowing art to be rebuilt anew.

Together with Otto Piene, Heinz Mack and Mattijs Visser, Günther Uecker set up the ZERO Foundation in 2008. The foundation owns the complete ZERO archives for the three Düsseldorf artists, as well as documents and photographs by other related artists.

The artist is represented in:
Chapter 2 – Painting with Time and Space: from ZERO to the ‘60s Avant-garde



Credits: Günther Uecker im Atelier – Foto: Hartmut Rekort

Socle du Monde Biennale 2017 is supported by: