Happy 85th: Three Galleries Team Up to Fête Heinz Mack, the Eminent German Artist

It takes three galleries to fully celebrate Heinz Mack, one of Germany’s leading contemporary artists. On the occasion of his 85th birthday, German galleries Samuelis Baumgarte and Arndt Art Agency (A3) have teamed up with Singapore’s Arndt to present “Mack: Review and Outlook | A Special Selection,” a survey of the artist’s wide-ranging, luminous work.

Light and color have been central to Mack’s work since early in his career. He studied painting at the prestigious Düsseldorf Academy of Arts and philosophy at Cologne University. This educational background informed an approach to art making that is conceptual yet grounded in the physical properties of his materials.

Shortly after completing his studies, Mack and fellow artist Otto Piene co-founded Group Zero, a movement in which the artists called for freedom from past artistic precedents while emphasizing the use of spare forms, everyday materials, and—especially important for Mack’s own trajectory—experimentation with color and light. In works ranging from black-and-white paintings of parallel and gridded lines to monumental outdoor environments, Mack has been giving form to light and color for more than six decades.

Sculpture, drawing, and ceramics are among the other mediums in which he works. This laudatory three-part show includes examples of each in pieces made from 1968 to 2014. Gold-Sand-Relief (1970), a patterned wall relief, features a patina of golden sand overlaying an abstract gridded field of raised lines and squares. The textured surface catches the light and calls to mind the interaction of sun and sand in vast, undulating stretches of desert.

A later abstract composition, Blue House – Chromatische Konstellation (2012), serves as an example of Mack’s work in acrylic on canvas. Covering its surface are layers of loosely painted, feathery squares in shades of blue, white, orange, yellow, and violet. The illuminated interplay between these colors makes it seem as if the painting is emitting its own light, demonstrating Mack’s inexhaustible interest in this most fundamental phenomenon.


Karen Kedmey


Mack: Review and Outlook | A Special Selection” is on view at Samuelis Baumgarte, Bielefeld; Arndt Art Agency (A3), Berlin; and Arndt Fine Art, Singapore, Mar. 5–Apr. 30, 2016.

Follow Arndt on Artsy.

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