Heinz Mack

Mack_Portrait_2008

Portrait of Heinz Mack, 2008

Born 1931-03-08 in Lollar, Germany.

He is known for his op art, light kinetics as well as being a pioneer in land art, yet his “central artistic theme is light.” [Mack, 2009] “His sculptures and paintings are a medium for transporting light. (...) His works have been shown in around 300 solo exhibitions to this date.” [Mack, 2009] Heinz Mack currently lives and works in Mönchengladbach, Germany and in Ibiza, Spain.

“In the same year [“1956, authors note”] he met for the first time Mathieu, Tinguely and Klein in Paris. By the middle of the 50s he applied himself intensively to Informal painting by creating his first dynamic structures, which he then transcribed into painting and drawing as well as plaster and metal reliefs. (...) At the end of the 50s Mack constructed his first light-steles and cubes. (...) The Rotoren (aluminium foil combined with two turning corrugated glass sheets, mounted one behind the other) constitued in 1959 the first motor-driven light sculptures in his work. A year later he showed, in the context the Hommage à Georges de la Tour in Berlin’s Galerie Diogenes, his first phosphor pictures and fire sculptures. (...) In the 70s and 80s he applied himself overridingly to creating monumental outdoor sculptures and the design of public squares (e.g.: Jürgen-Ponto-Platz in Frankfurt a.M.) as well as stage sets for theatre and opera. In 1991 he developed, for the first time in years, large-format painted pictures.” [ZERO foundation, n. d.]

“In 1957 he [“Otto Piene, authors note”] cofounded with Heinz Mack Group Zero, an international assembly of artists interested in kinetic, environmental and elementary art, and went on to publish Zero magazines and to organize and design exhibitions and the first sky events under the Zero aegis.” MIT Tech Talk, 1993

1950-1953 Studied at the painting class of the Academy of Arts in Düsseldorf which he completed by taking the state examination.

1953-1956 Studies of Philosophy at the University of Cologne with a State Examination.

1957 Heinz Mack und Otto Piene found Group ZERO in 1957 in Düsseldorf, which Günther Uecker joins, organise the Abendausstellungen which later become legendary and edit the Catalogue Magazine ZERO Vol. I and Vol. II.

1958-1959 First Licht-Reliefs, Lichtkuben (light cubes) and Lichtstelen (light pillars). From the idea of a pulsing pillar of light in the desert, the model of which is exhibited in the Iris Clert gallery in Paris, develops the idea for the so-called Sahara-Projekt; a Utopia which has accompanied the artist ever since.

1962-1968,1976 Times of large working expeditions into the Algerian desert, where he experimented with light in desert for the first time, and to the Arctic.

1964-1966 Lived and worked in New York.

1966 First New York solo exhibition called “Forest of light” at the renowned Howard Wise Gallery.
In the Kunsthalle Bonn the ZERO group had a last joint exhibition. Shortly afterwards they disbanded. Together they also organised with Uecker the ZERO Festival at the railway station Rolandseck, where ca. 1000 people celebrate the end of the ZERO era.

1967 Shows works again at the Howard Wise Gallery in the exhibition Lights of Orbit.

1968 For the film “Tele Mack, Tele-Mack, Telemack”, which was documented by the German television, he realised the Sahara Project in the Tunisian desert.
Mack was appointed as a member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
Stage design according to a sonata from Beethoven for a ballet production of the German Opera on the Rhine in Düsseldorf.

1969 Stage design for Dürrenmatt’s Titus Andronicus from Shakespeare, Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf.
Stage design for the ballet production Reflexionen according to music from Frank Martin, German Opera on the Rhine in Düsseldorf.

1970 Mack was appointed Professor and invited to lecture in Osaka (Japan).
At the XXXV Biennale in Venice in the same year, he represented Western Germany together with Uecker, Pfahler and Lenk.

1971 36 m high Wasserwolke for the Olympia Stadium, Munich

1974 A commission for a design for a sculpture by the UNO in New York. The artist designs a 70m high Friedens-Stele (Peace Pillar). Despite approval by the UNO and the city of New York the decision makers in BRD drop the artist and his idea.

1978 Richt-Lichtfest-Inszenierung for one night before the reconstruction of the city museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach
Lectures at the University of Toronto and in the Congress Hall in Berlin.

1980 Artistic design for the international World Energy Conference in the Olympiahalle, Munich

1985 Lectures at the Sommerakademie in Salzburg

1987 Lectures at the Technical University in Berlin

1990 Production of the film Lichtkunst-Heinz Mack

1992 Resigns from the Academy of Arts, Berlin

Awards

1959 Art Award of the city of Krefeld, Germany
1963 Premio Marzotto
1965 1. Prix des arts plastiques of the 4th Biennale de Paris
1970 Adolf-Grimme Special Award for his film Telemack
1971 Special Award from the Film Biennale in Venice for his film Telemack
1979 1. prize of the international competition ‘Licht 79’, Netherlands
1992 Great Culture Award of the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Rheinland
2004 Mack received the Große Verdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic Germany in recognition of his works and his commitment as a cultural representative.
2009 Awardee of the Ehrenring of the city of Mönchengladbach.

[ZERO foundation, n. d.]
[Mack, 2009]

Mack_Portrait_2008

Portrait of Heinz Mack, 2008

Mack_Documentary_1962

Heinz Mack at work. Still from the documentary film “0×0=kunst” by Gerd Winkler, 1962