FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
The great international appreciation of Otto Piene’s work is well documented by the large number of recent solo exhibitions in significant institutions such as the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin 2014), the Guggenheim Museum (New York 2014), the Langen Foundation (Neuss 2014) the Stedeljijk Museum (Amsterdam 2015) and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2016).
Since the 1950s Otto Piene concentrated on light, space, movement, fire and color as means of artistic expression. In 1958 the artist states: “Licht ist die erste Bedingung aller Sichtbarkeit. […] Licht ist das Lebenselement des Menschen und des Bildes“. He is pointing out the importance of light, being a crucial element for mankind and art.
Piene’s goal is to open up new spaces of aesthetic experience. The perception of light and the illustration of this autonomous force is the leitmotif in the artist’s oeuvre. 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 burnt forms are put in contrast to the paintings flat grounds often held in white or bright primary colors. The use of bold colors attracts light and allows for reflection on Piene’s key findings - the painterly qualities of fire. The organic shapes of the burnt areas evoke figurative associations that Piene nurtures by using poetic titles such as “Mondfähre” (1981), “Feuerblume” (1964) or “Pfauenauge” (2006).
The ZERO-group´s proclamation of an artistic ´restart´ is embodied most radically in this act of combustion, as the artist subordinates himself to the forces of nature and partially gives away control over the outcome of his work.
In addition to selected editions, the exhibition focuses on Piene´s characteristic fire paintings and gouaches from five decades of intense work. A detailed catalog including an essay by Philipp Ziegler accompanies the show.