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Heinz Mack

Painter, Object artist (male) and Sculptor (male)

1931 in Lollar

2 Works by Heinz Mack


Heinz Mack attended grammar school in Gießen and received piano lessons as a child. He studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1950 to 1953 and passed his state examination in art and crafts education. From 1953 to 1956, Mack also studied philosophy at the University of Cologne. He earned his living as a student councillor. His first solo exhibition took place in 1957 at the Schmela Gallery in Düsseldorf. Together with his friend and colleague Otto Piene (1928−2014), Mack organised a series of so-called "evening exhibitions" from 1957, which took place in Otto Piene's studio at Gladbacher Straße 69 in Düsseldorf. The term "ZERO", which is also used as the title for the three issues of their magazine published in Düsseldorf, was first used in this context in 1958. The artists of the ZERO movement repeatedly included the streets and public spaces in their actions they called "demonstrations". On the occasion of the publication of the magazine "ZERO 3" on 5th July 1961, they organised a "ZERO Festival" in front of the Schmela Gallery in Düsseldorf. On 17th May 1962, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker held a "ZERO Demonstration" at the Rheinwiesen in Düsseldorf, and in February 1964 they took part in the procession on Rosenmontag (carnival Monday) with a "ZERO Running Car". In 1959 Mack wrote the so-called "Sahara Project" and from 1962 installed the "Jardin artificiel" several times in the deserts of Africa. In 1968 he made the award-winning film "Tele-Mack", in which the artist explored and documented the energy and power of light. Between 1964 and 1966 Mack lived mainly in New York. In 1970 he was a visiting professor at Osaka University of Arts. He is represented in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad, including documenta 2 (1959), 3 (1964), 4 (1968) and 6 (1977), as well as the 35th Venice Biennale (1970) and subsequent exhibitions: "Festival d'art d'avantgarde", Grand Palais, Paris (1960), "Nove tendencije" 1 and 2, Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb (1961, 1963), "Nul", Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1962), "Zero Demonstration", Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1964), "Licht und Bewegung", among others at Kunsthalle Bern (1965), "The Responsive Eye", The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1965), World Exhibition in Montreal (1967) and in Osaka (1970), "Prospect: Retrospect. Europa 1946−1976", Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (1976), Skulptur-Projekte, Münster (1977), "Westkunst. Zeitgenössische Kunst seit 1939", Rheinhallen, Cologne (1981), "Deutsche Kunst 1945−1985", Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1985), "Berlin − Moskau/Moskau − Berlin", Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin/Tretjakow-Galerie, Staatliches Historisches Museum, Moscow (2003/04), "Art and the Cold War. German Positions 1945 to 1989", Los Angeles County Museum of Art/German National Museum, Nuremberg/German Historical Museum, Berlin (2009) and "ZERO. Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s−60s", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014). Mack's work is also shown in comprehensive solo presentations: Galerie Iris Clert, Paris (1959), Galleria Azimut, Milan (1960), Howard Wise Gallery, New York (1966), Museum Folkwang, Essen (1971), Akademie der Künste, Berlin (1972), Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973), Galerie Holtmann, Cologne (1981, 1987), Galerie Denise René Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf (1985), Jewish Museum, Vienna (1993), Muzeum Narodowe, Wrocław (1997), Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2001), Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen (2002), Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (2011), Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden (2015) and Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul (2016). In December 2008 the ZERO foundation, a cooperation between Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, Günther Uecker and the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, was established with the financial support of the City of Düsseldorf. Mack has received numerous awards, including the Art Prize of the City of Krefeld (1958), the Premio Marzotto (1963), the Grand Cultural Prize of the Rheinischer Sparkassenverband (1992), the Grand Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with Star (2011) and the Moses Mendelssohn Medal (2017).

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