Ben Brown Fine Arts is delighted to announce Colour Light Rhythm, the first exhibition in Hong Kong for the German artist, Heinz Mack. The artist’s contribution to twentieth century European art is staggering and his commitment to his aesthetic principles is unwavering, even now in his eighties. Mack has worked across a diverse range of media and his entire oeuvre rests on the central phenomena of colour, light and rhythm. The exhibition demonstrates the interplay between these tenants in a range of paintings and sculptures created by Mack throughout the past five decades.
Mack entered the canon of art history for his part in creating ZERO, an artistic movement founded with Otto Piene in 1957. The Dusseldorf based duo were responding to the tenuous position of post war Germany, seizing the opportunity to begin again at zero in a time of economic growth and creative vacuum. Over one hundred artists would come to be associated with ZERO, which became a trans-international and trans-generational movement, officially ending in 1967.
Mack has worked with a diverse range of materials such as aluminium, Plexiglass, wood, glass and stainless steel, all deemed radically unfamiliar in the late fifties, and by doing so sought to address materiality in the wake of the destruction of many parts of Europe. Mack moved away from the traditional idea of pictorial space and instead concentrated his attentions on to the surface play of light. Capturing light, reflection and vibration has always been at the core of his work, the result of which is the creation of captivating immaterial effects from material form.
Colour has also always featured prominently in his work. Even in the well known black and white paintings from his early phase Mack demonstrated that to paint a black or white picture an artist had to know a lot about colour. In 1963 Mack made a decision to stop painting on canvas, a rule he energetically cast aside in 1990 after having found inspiration in the Balearic Island of Ibiza, where he still paints to this day. The bright light and Mediterranean blaze of colour is ever present in his rhythmic picture field paintings. The whole surface of his canvasses appears to be permeated by light, as if the very substance of the painting, the pigment, has become immaterial.
The result of his intense manipulations of colour and light in both two and three dimensional forms is a strong sensation of rhythm and vibration. Mack consistently places the viewer’s sensual experience at the centre of all of his works. In his paintings corresponding tones and colours create the impression of interplay between recession and projection, constructing for the viewer an illusion of movement. Likewise, in his sculptures Mack achieves this by allowing the light to penetrate the surface of his chosen material to create radiation and waves of reflected light.
The artist has remained true to his artistic principles throughout his career, never placing a hierarchy on the media he has employed. Mack has been exhibiting internationally since 1957, numbering some 300 exhibitions, and his works can be found in approximately 140 collections worldwide. 2011 marked the artist’s eightieth year and a major retrospective was held in honour of the artist at the Bundekunsthalle in Bonn, Germany.
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