Heinz Mack was born on 8 March 1931, in Lollar, Germany. Between 1950 and 1956, Mack simultaneously studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he graduated as a teacher, and the Universität zu Köln, where he gained a degree in philosophy. After graduating, Mack began creating his Dynamischen Strukturen (‘Dynamic Structures’), a multimedia body of work that suppressed colour in favour of the representation of ‘pure’ dynamism through line, light, material and relief. He concurrently began hosting a series of evening exhibitions, called Abendausstellungen, with fellow philosophy student and artist Otto Piene in their shared studio in Düsseldorf. This led to the formation of the ZERO group in 1957, so-called for its connotations of silence and purity. Günther Uecker would join in 1961.
In 1964, Mack organised the Lichtraum (Hommage à Lucio Fontana) together with Piene and Uecker for Documenta III in Kassel: a light installation consisting of seven works that re-arranged according to a timed platform. Meanwhile, ZERO had become an international movement since its inception; its championing of objective art focussed upon light, motion and material had gained a following that included artists such as Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely. ZERO would end with its final exhibition in 1966, the same year Mack had his first solo show at Howard Wise Gallery, New York. Mack continued to work on his series of Dynamischen Strukturen independent of ZERO, creating kinetic light pieces with aluminium, mirrors, and water. He also worked on a series of Rotoren (‘Rotors’), which combined motors with sculpture and painting.
Mack represented Germany at the XXXV Venice Biennale in 1970. In 1972, Mack had a major solo exhibition at the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, and another in Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 1977. During the 1980s, he fulfilled numerous public commissions, including the Jürgen-Ponto-Platz, Frankfurt (1981), and Platz der Deutschen Einheit, Düsseldorf (1989). In 1991, Mack took up traditional painting, and began creating his series of Chromatische Konstellationen (‘Chromatic Constellations’), which he continues to produce now.
Mack’s work can be found in the following selected public collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Tate Collection, London.
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