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Artists' association

1958 in Düsseldorf
1966 in Düsseldorf


The artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene coined the name ZERO in 1957 within the context of a series of one-day evening exhibitions in the Ruinenatelier in Düsseldorf. By referring to the “zero hour” after the war, they proclaimed a renewal of art. After its official formation on 24 April 1958, ZERO established itself as an international movement with a claim to avant-garde tendencies. Until it was disbanded in 1966, numerous exhibitions in Europe and the United States brought together some 130 artists from all over the world. ZERO’s idealistic aims were formulated primarily by artists from the circle of Düsseldorf’s Art Academy. Apart from Mack and Piene they included above all Guenther Uecker, who from 1961 took part in the drawing up of a manifesto and in the publication of the three-part magazine Zero. Starting with the monochrome works of Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana, the ZERO artists pursued clarity of colour and material concreteness in their art. In doing so, they countered the painterly-gestural subjectivity of the post-war era’s Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel. The decision in favour of monochrome works was a result of the artistic investigation of light. Otto Piene’s Lichtballette (Light Ballets) can be seen as examples of the use of technological equipment in the works of the ZERO artists. Moving wall projections result in a merging together of the piece of art and its space.

Persons belonging to ZERO

Works associated with ZERO