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Heinz Mack: Early Metal Reliefs 1957-1967

Sperone Westwater
257 Bowery, between Houston and Stanton, 212 999 7338
East Village / Lower East Side
January 7 - February 19, 2011
Reception: Friday, January 7, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Sperone Westwater presents the first survey of Heinz Mack’s early metal reliefs (1957 – 1967). Together with fellow German artist Otto Piene, Mack co-founded the ZERO group in 1957, which sought a renewal in art amidst the ruins of post-war Germany. Created in the formative years of ZERO, Mack’s metal reliefs were made in his first studio in Düsseldorf at 69 Gladbacher Straße, which served as both an experimental laboratory for art and was the site of ZERO’s first exhibitions – “Abendausstellungen”, or “Evening Exhibitions” that lasted the duration of one night.

Mack’s metal reliefs are characterized by their shimmering industrial surfaces, made from aluminum, Plexiglas, wood, glass and stainless steel: all materials that were radically unfamiliar for sculpture at the time. His aim was to abandon the traditional idea of pictorial space and focus instead on an overall surface play of light, reflection and vibration, in the process creating immaterial effects from material form.

In his essay for the brochure which accompanied Mack’s first show in Paris in 1959 at the Galerie Iris Clert, Yves Klein wrote: “the reliefs in aluminum of Mack […] come from the delicate, discrete and timid love he has always felt for color though always refusing to approach it.”

In 1967, in conjunction with an exhibition by the ZERO group in New York City, Heinz Mack published Mack Szene, Mack Seen, Mack-A-Zine, MACKAZIN: Die Jahre 1957 – 67; a document that was part catalogue, part “zine,” crafted by Mack to communicate the spirit of the ZERO group, and his intentions as an artist for the future.

This January, some forty-three years later, Mack will publish MACK SZENE MACK SEEN MACK-A-ZINE MACKAZIN: DIE JAHRE 1957 – 67 – ?, vol. 2, which will include new text and artworks from Mack, while remaining true to the artist’s original intent of creating work in “the ZERO spirit.” This spirit of artistic freedom, according to Mack, “was always to be a Contra against group, a Contra against style and a Contra against establishment.”
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