Art Basel Hong Kong Online

18 - 25 March 2020

Mythologies

Cardi Gallery presents Mythologies, a virtual exhibition especially conceived for Art Basel Hong Kong 2020. Bringing together a selection of works by European and Asian masters of Post-War and Contemporary Art, namely Alexander Calder­­, Damien Hirst, Giorgio Morandi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mimmo Rotella, Shozo Shimamoto and Günther Uecker, this Online Viewing Room illustrate­­­­­­­s the relationship between performativity and repetition through the use of colour, the rethinking not only of artistic canons but of the agency of the artist himself. The pieces featured in Mythologies range from 1948 to 2012, and while encompassing a variety of media – many of which are innovative techniques such as Pistoletto’s quadri specchianti, Rotella’s photo emulsions and Shimamoto’s bottle-crash – they all refer to the language of painting.

Alexander CalderPetit Mobile sur Pied, 1953Standing mobile - painted sheet metal, rod and wire66.7 x 50.8 x 43.2 cm26 1/4 x 20 x 17 1/8 in

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“When everything goes right a mobile is a piece of poetry that dances with the joy of life and surprises.” (Alexander Calder)

Executed in 1953, “Petit Mobile sur Pied” (1953), is a remarkable example of Alexander Calder’s ability to construct dynamic sculptural artworks that have paved the way for “kinetic art”. Comprehending Calder’s sculptural narratives, means to recognise the early evolution of his practice throughout painting, the experimentation with wire constructions and lastly the making of abstract three-dimensional kinetic sculptures.

In the 1920s, after travelling to Paris, the artist became familiar with the practice of Piet Mondrian, whose works had a great influence on Calder. Upon visiting Mondrian’s  studio for the first time, his utilisation of bright colours and sense of shape inspired Calder to re-evaluate his practice: “[…] I thought at the time how fine it would be if everything there moved”. This realisation deemed significant to Calder’s discovery of the “mobile” as subject and medium of his art, as his practice was continuously concerned with the question why art should be static. Quickly making connections to the local art scene, which included the artists Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, experimenting with “kinetic art”, Calder developed his explorations of movement further by adopting the main principles of the kinetic art movement. Exploring the sculptural possibilities of time and motion, Calder constructed recognising significance of machinery and technology of the time. The experimentations with “kinetic art”, utilising circulating air to balance its components, were finally given the term “mobile” by artist and friend Marcel Duchamp.

The range of kinetic sculptures created by Calder, ranges from hanging to standing, with welded metal rods and strings connected through movable joints. The present work Petit Mobile sur Pied (1953) is an exceptional example of the delicate works Calder continued to produce throughout the early 50s, a significant time in the artist’s career. Representing the United Stated at the Venice Biennale in the previous year 1952, he won the grand prize, launching his international career as recognised master of kinetic sculpture.

At the time of post-war reconstruction, Calder was increasingly commissioned by architects to collaborate in city planning, leading to an overall amplification of size in his sculptures. The artist however continues to produce his delicate “mobiles” such as Petit Mobile sur Pied (1953). Demonstrating the entirety of Calder’s practice, the present sculpture encompasses the interplay of colours, movement and mechanics. Similar to all of Calder’s standing “mobiles”, the base of the sculpture acts as integral part to the construction. The bold red metal formation reaches upwards towards the hanging crown of the sculpture, resembling the structure of a tree. Similar to branches of a tree, three distinctive arms of metal rod with a series of blue, red and yellow discs crown the top of the sculpture. A breeze of wind will set of the balanced elements in motion, initiating an intricate choreography of movement in which the elements move without domination and disruption.

Tony CraggIn two minds, 2003Yellow and grey marbleSculpture75 x 66 x 67 cm29 1/2 x 26 x 26 3/8 in

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Born in Liverpool in 1949, Tony Cragg studied at Technical College and started working as laboratory technician at the “Natural Rubber Producers Research Association” where he further learned about the material natural rubber. In this scientific environment his interest for art grows and he enrols at the “Royal College of Art”. In 1978 he transfers to the Ruhr, the industrial area of Wuppertal where he settles to live and work. Cragg now begins to make sculptures using waste material such as pieces of wood or plastic found on the beach. At the beginning of the 80s his interest in material extends to: melting steel, bronze, glass, ceramic. Many of his sculptures are given form based on simple ordering principles. In 1998 Tony Cragg is awarded the Turner Prize.

The sculpture “In Two Minds” (2003), made of grey and yellow marble, is reminiscent of Cragg’s series “Points of View”, a body of work from 2002. The series persists of various sculptures with diverse dimensions, forms and material ranging from marble, stone to bronze. As a continuation of his early series “Early Forms” (1990), where the artist developed variations of organically formed figures, “Points of View” presents forms that from a certain point of view display human profiles. Twisted and stacked, the sculptures are columns, whose visible disks seem to dynamically spiral or melt into distinct and unanticipated sculptural volumes. Tony Cragg describes this series as followed: “The intention was not to make portraits but rather to mark the axial views with recognisable silhouette.” The work “In Two Minds” (2003) challenges the viewer to interrogate the emotional response in experiencing abstractions to conformity, by exploring the ability to identify simple human forms in manmade constructions.

Damien HirstPentoxifylline, 2012Household gloss on canvas53 x 55 cm20 7/8 x 21 5/8 inEach spot1 cm3/8 in

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“To create that structure, to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” Damien Hirst

The spot paintings are amongst Hirst’s most widely recognised works. Of the thirteen sub-series within the spots category, the ‘Pharmaceutical’ paintings are the first and most prolific. There are over 1000 in existence, dating from 1986 to 2011.
In 1988, during the third and final stage of ‘Freeze’, Hirst painted two near-identical arrangements of coloured spots onto the wall of the warehouse. He called the works ‘Edge’ (1988) and ‘Row’ (1988). These paintings followed some loose hand-painted spots on board, dating from 1986, and the first spot work on canvas ‘Untitled (with Black Dot)’ (1988) – the only ‘Pharmaceutical’ painting ever to have incorporated a black dot. Following ‘Freeze’, Hirst started to refine his creative process. Slowly, he began to employ assistants to create the spot paintings. Any physical evidence of human intervention – such as the compass point left at the centre of each spot – was removed, until the works appeared to have been constructed mechanically, or “by a person trying to paint like a machine”. For Hirst, it was a departure from years of experimenting with paint and collage, and the first result of his search for a contemporary art form that could succeed without a reliance on “already organised elements.”

The random and infinite colour series within the ‘Pharmaceutical’ paintings is integral to the works. Hirst explains that, “mathematically, with the spot paintings, I probably discovered the most fundamentally important thing in any kind of art. Which is the harmony of where colour can exist on its own, interacting with other colours in a perfect format.” Any problems he had previously had with colour, Hirst claims, were removed by the perfect arrangement of complimentary, yet never repeated, colours in the spots.

The spot paintings vary in size from a 40 foot canvas containing spots of 1 inch, ‘Iodomethane- 13c’ (1999 – 2000), to ‘Erbium Oxide’ (2009), which has only four 60 inch spots, to ‘L-Isoleucinol’ (2008 – 2011), which measures ten by sixteen inches and contains 25,781 one millimeter spots. Their titles are taken arbitrarily from the chemical company Sigma-Aldrich’s catalogue ‘Biochemicals for Research and Diagnostic Reagents’, a book Hirst stumbled across in the early 1990’s. The grid formula within the ‘Pharmaceutical’ paintings was the basis for an endless series. Over the last 24 years, Hirst has produced on average 60 spot paintings a year.

Damien HirstBeautiful Remastered Rubellite Tourmaline Painting, 2007Signed and dated on the reverseSigned once and stamped twice on the stretcherHousehold gloss on canvasDiameter183 cm72 1/8 in

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“The Spin Paintings gather and amalgamate the individuality of every individual colour, introducing a mechanical rotating movement at the moment of execution, to make the colours participate in a primordial state where order, and creation dissolve and disengage from the mediation of thought and representation, to become pure expression of the basic and vital gesture of painting and its mythology.” (M. CODOGNATO, quoted in ‘Warning Labels’, in Damien Hirst, exh. cat., Museo Archeological Nazionale, Naples, 2004, p. 42)

As the artist said, “Spins” are lush, organic, and violent. A hypnotic disc of canvas suffused with centrifugal explosions of vivid colour, Damien Hirst’s Beautiful Remastered Rubellite Tournaline Painting, completed in 2007, forms part of his iconic spin painting series. The work contains strata of paint described in warm tones of red, blue and pink, offset by cool bursts of violet that pulsate from the canvas with kinetic energy.

Hirst’s technique of pouring household gloss onto a mechanically rotating canvas instils the work with palpable sense of movement. By dripping the paint upon a machine, Hirst withdraws his own artistic hand, introducing an air of unpredictability that rejects conscious thought and defies artistic convention. Hirst’s mechanical application of dripping paint parodies the personal creative expression of Jackson Pollock’s action paintings, while his rejection of manual intervention alludes to the audacity of Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades.

Works such as the present work can be read as a nostalgic homage to childhood freedom and a celebration of technology, as well as an examination of the pandemonium of human existence. Hirst discloses that it was John Noakes’ demonstration of spin painting in a 1975 episode of the long-running British television programme Blue Peter that in part inspired his artistic creativity as a child and later formed the source of inspiration for his spin paintings.

The spin series was inaugurated in 1993 when Hirst and fellow artist Angus Fairhurst hosted a spin art stall at a street fair, dressed as clowns designed by performance artist Leigh Bowery. The series has since become a hallmark of Hirst’s practice, marking a departure from the rigid organization of Hirst’s spot paintings and from the themes of death and decay that characterize his formaldehyde works.

‘[The spin paintings] make the colours participate in a primordial state, where order and creation dissolve and disengage from the mediation of thought and representation, to become pure expression of the basic and vital gesture of painting and its mythology.’ (M. Codognato, ‘Warning Labels’, in Damien Hirst, exh. cat., Museo Archeological Nazionale, Naples, 2004, p. 42).

Giorgio MorandiNatura Morta, 1948Signed and dated on the reverse Morandi 1948Oil on canvas20.6 x 32.6 cm8 1/8 x 12 7/8 in

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Giorgio Morandi’s work “Natura Morta” (1948), is a refined example of the artist’s famous oeuvre of still lifes that dominated his life’s artistic practice. This body of work is defined by the repeated subject of meticulous juxtapositions of mundane objects such as bottles, bowls, and jugs. The displayed containers, arranged on various heights of a flat surface visible on the canvas, are empty and there are no indications of their everyday use. Infinite compositions detach the domestic origin of the presented objects, transforming them into mere forms, painted in neutral tones. Limiting the range of subjects to paint, the artist achieved an infinite visual survey of the relationship between, colour, light, space and form. Morandi’s still lifes reflect the nature of the true essence of the artist, that is, being completely committed to the artistic creation. Reducing himself to this absolute artistic production of painting, the artist rarely left his studio apartment for nearly four decades between the 1920s and 60s. James Thrall Soby, who visited the artist in 1949 prior to organising the seminal exhibition “Twentieth-Century Italian Art” at the “Museum of Modern Art” in New York, described his visit to Morandi’s studio in the exhibition’s catalogue:

“He lived in a comfortable, bourgeois apartment […]. There was no sign anywhere that it was an artist’s home until one walked into the small room Morandi used as a studio. These bottles and containers of every kind and substance were lined up on shelves or placed on tables. […] One sensed the intense meditative and philosophical process through which these objects were arranged in Morandi’s paintings. One knew the slightest shifts in scale, light, colour, balance, and counter-balance were of the utmost importance to him”

The present work “Natura Morta” (1948) displays three distinctively recognisable bottles, lined up as the first row. Roughly painted darker containers are visible behind them, their form and colour variations suggesting an additional second row of three to four containers. Slightly off centred, the grouping of objects adds volume and spatial recognition to the overall warm, yet muted colour composition. Creating spatial perspective for the viewer through the interplay of form, colour, and light, Morandi’s still lifes display a fragile tension between tranquility and emotional isolation.

Morandi established himself as an outsider. In many ways, he was dissimilar to some of his contemporaries, many of whom were following newly established modern art movements such as Futurism, Cubism or Metaphysical art. Instead, the artist continued, like others of his generation, to study the Old Masters, particularly the early Renaissance. Conscious of the legacy of tradition and regional values of the Italian cultural heritage, Morandi investigated fragments of art history with a new individual way of seeing. His particular way of interpreting the spatial relationships between everyday objects, allowed him to further evolve from the schools that had a decisive influence on his practice.

Giorgio MorandiNatura Morta, 1949Signed lower left MorandiOil on canvas30 x 45 cm11 3/4 x 17 3/4 in

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Giorgio Morandi’s work “Natura Morta” (1949), is a refined example of the artist’s famous oeuvre of still lifes that dominated his life’s artistic practice. This body of work is defined by the repeated subject of meticulous juxtapositions of mundane objects such as bottles, bowls, and jugs. The displayed containers, arranged on various heights of a flat surface visible on the canvas, are empty and there are no indications of their everyday use. Infinite compositions detach the domestic origin of the presented objects, transforming them into mere forms, painted in neutral tones. Limiting the range of subjects to paint, the artist achieved an infinite visual survey of the relationship between, colour, light, space and form. Morandi’s still lifes reflect the nature of the true essence of the artist, that is, being completely committed to the artistic creation. Reducing himself to this absolute artistic production of painting, the artist rarely left his studio apartment for nearly four decades between the 1920s and 60s. James Thrall Soby, who visited the artist in 1949 prior to organising the seminal exhibition “Twentieth-Century Italian Art” at the “Museum of Modern Art” in New York, described his visit to Morandi’s studio in the exhibition’s catalogue:

“He lived in a comfortable, bourgeois apartment […]. There was no sign anywhere that it was an artist’s home until one walked into the small room Morandi used as a studio. These bottles and containers of every kind and substance were lined up on shelves or placed on tables. […] One sensed the intense meditative and philosophical process through which these objects were arranged in Morandi’s paintings. One knew the slightest shifts in scale, light, colour, balance, and counter-balance were of the utmost importance to him.”

The present work “Natura Morta” (1949) displays a distinctive grouping of containers placed carefully at the edge of the right corner of the flat surface, edging towards the right corner of the canvas simultaneously. Uniquely, the painted containers are presented with clear features, such as their lids, decorative rims or coloured stripes. Their determined off centred positioning and the additional insertion of a shadow thrown over the edge of the surface that they are placed on, adds volume and spatial recognition to the overall warm, yet muted colour composition. By creating spatial perspective for the viewer through the interplay of form, colour, and light, Morandi’s still lifes display a fragile tension between tranquility and emotional isolation.
Morandi established himself as an outsider. In many ways, he was dissimilar to some of his contemporaries, many of whom were following newly established modern art movements such as Futurism, Cubism or Metaphysical art. Instead, the artist continued, like others of his generation, to study the Old Masters, particularly the early Renaissance. Conscious of the legacy of tradition and regional values of the Italian cultural heritage, Morandi investigated fragments of art history with a new individual way of seeing. His particular way of interpreting the spatial relationships between everyday objects, allowed him to further evolve from the schools that had a decisive influence on his practice.

Michelangelo PistolettoPartitura in nero - E, 2010-2012Silkscreen on polished stainless steel244 x 122 cm96 1/8 x 48 1/8 in

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“Artists in the 20th century gained the maximum of autonomy and subjectivity in their expression. I came to the mirror to try to transmit the idea that each viewer can have the same autonomous responsibility as the artist. People should, individually, be more similar to artists, and take a little bit more responsibility for their own freedom.” Michelangelo Pistoletto

Frustrated with the pursuit of mimesis in traditional painting, the Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto (b.1933) found a solution in the unbounded and infinite nature of the mirror. While the mirror is instrumental to Pistoletto’s pursuit of imaginative, boundary breaking means of diversifying the nature and function of art within our social fabric, the human figure also acts as a motif for research into the objective identity of existence in everyday life.

Partitura in nero – E is part of the eponymous series of mirror paintings that depict a young oriental lady in different poses and attitudes. Here, the woman turns away from us with a pensive demeanor and withdrawn body language. Toying with roles of perspective and identification, Pistoletto welcomes the viewer to evaluate their own personal identity, actively charging the act of self-reflection.

Isolated in their reflective panel, Pistoletto’s subjects (usually friends, colleagues and other people he knew) assert and question the difference between the world of representation and the reflective ‘reality’ of the mirror. Gazing at these works, the viewer immediately enters into a paradoxical and problematic world, seemingly both participating within the intimate private space of the subject and yet also remaining remote and separated, in an alternate space and time that simultaneously exists within the same picture.

Pistoletto’s figures always inhabit an entirely different world – frozen and often alone – in a time that is clearly past due to the hand-crafted, nostalgic quality of the black and white silkscreen technique by which they are rendered. And yet at the same time – and seemingly within the same frame or dimension of the picture – the viewer is also able to stand within the work, participating and observing the real space and time of the environment – one that within the confines of the picture plane, is an ever-changing present. The viewer, interacts with both these different space-times and consequently acts as a bridge between two separate worlds. The mirror is not only a device for reflection, but also a call to arms for the viewer to accept the responsibility of his or her position.

Mimmo RotellaMythologies, 1966Signed on the lower right on recto: "Rotella/66"Signed on the centre left on verso: "Rotella"Photo emulsion on canvas95 x 91 cm37 3/8 x 35 7/8 in

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Mimmo Rotella’s interest in the movie industry as subject originated from his discovery of the décollages in 1953, when the artist sourced film and advertisement posters from the streets of Rome. The vibrant compositions featured revealing fragments, glimpses of torn and layered pieces of posters, hinting at the films presently advertised. The fascination for cinema grew in 1961, when Rotella created a series including “La Dolce Vita” (1962) and “The hot Marilyn” (1962), exclusively dedicated to the medium of the film poster. Germano Celant describes Rotella’s décollages from this period as a significant approach to cinema. He underlines the artist’s ability to let the sourced imagery guide the gestural creativity of the artist, who replaces the pictorial representation with the set of values and commercialisation of the film poster utilised. According to Celant, the work therefore neutralises artistic heroism and introduces the world of cinema and fame through the uninterrupted and virtually inexpressive flow in composition of a stream of images.

Experimenting with ways to transition from the décollages, Rotella discovered a technique which later has been defined as significant to the emergence of the “Mec-Art” movement. The creation of the photo emulsion technique was a result of Rotella’s interest in photography and the rediscovery of the photojournalism of the 1920s and 1930s by both Andy Warhol and himself. The photomechanical technique is described by Celant as: “An almost mechanical process, which integrated the experiences of life without being concerned whether the outcome was art or non-art, with the aim of overturning the ‘sacred’ and ‘ritual’ condition of cultural art.” Allowing Rotella to convey current affairs in greater clarity, the technique of the photo emulsion is often characterised as one that manifests a moment in time, conveying important chronological events in society.

Shozo ShimamotoCapri - Certosa 41, 2008Signed on the front lower rightAcrylic, paper, broken glass on light canvas230 x 316 cm90 1/2 x 124 3/8 in

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Shozo Shimamoto was co-founder with Jiro Yoshihara of the Gutai movement (which means ‘concreteness’). In 1954 the movement grew out of a series of upheavals in Japan that sparked a process of radical rethinking of the artistic tradition, painting in particular. Gutai looked at Western culture, the European avant-garde movements, abstraction, Minimalism, and Rationalism, then attempted to move past them by experimenting with new linguistic solutions. With the Gutai Manifesto of 1956 and Banishing the Paintbrush, written by Shimamoto himself in 1957, the references (Pollock’s action painting among them) and the intentions of this artistic movement are articulated: art is action, the act of painting is autonomous with respect to the result it aims to achieve, art becomes event. Shimamoto’s outdoor performances result in true environmental installations, where interaction with the visitor and the surrounding space betrays the contemplative dimension of the work and replaces it with the active experience of the moment of viewing.

Shimamoto’s idea is to bring paint back to the material dimension, to the physicality of a chromatic element no longer perceived as a representational vehicle. Shimamoto chooses to use an intermediary tool, almost a mechanical aid (the bottle or the cup full of paint that breaks on the canvas) that distances the artist from the chromatic material and puts chance into play, through which the personalization of artistic expression is erased.

The result of his technique (the ‘bottle crash’) is a true chromatic explosion. In particular, his bottle crash actions of the last decade have an unusual configuration in terms of both the relationship between event and work, and the emotional dimension connected to the action. In fact, these are representative and spectacular moments, real social acts, which include the production of paintings as their outcome. The result is generated by chance, but the gesture and its spectacularity are carefully calibrated. Sometimes assuming an elevated position with respect to the “field” of work, Shimamoto does not limit himself to tossing plastic cups and bottles filled with color against the ground, but lifts them up, displays them in a sort of celebratory ostentation, and then allows them to fall. Shimamoto’s performances are a dramaturgical manifestation, often with the connotations of a dance. His canvases, like universes large and small, enclose this cosmic dance within them and release its energy before the viewer’s gaze.

Shozo ShimamotoCapri - Certosa 53, 2008Signed on the front lower rightAcrylic, paper, broken glass on light canvas190 x 220 cm74 3/4 x 86 5/8 in

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Shozo Shimamoto was co-founder with Jiro Yoshihara of the Gutai movement (which means ‘concreteness’). In 1954 the movement grew out of a series of upheavals in Japan that sparked a process of radical rethinking of the artistic tradition, painting in particular. Gutai looked at Western culture, the European avant-garde movements, abstraction, Minimalism, and Rationalism, then attempted to move past them by experimenting with new linguistic solutions. With the Gutai Manifesto of 1956 and Banishing the Paintbrush, written by Shimamoto himself in 1957, the references (Pollock’s action painting among them) and the intentions of this artistic movement are articulated: art is action, the act of painting is autonomous with respect to the result it aims to achieve, art becomes event. Shimamoto’s outdoor performances result in true environmental installations, where interaction with the visitor and the surrounding space betrays the contemplative dimension of the work and replaces it with the active experience of the moment of viewing.

Shimamoto’s idea is to bring paint back to the material dimension, to the physicality of a chromatic element no longer perceived as a representational vehicle. Shimamoto chooses to use an intermediary tool, almost a mechanical aid (the bottle or the cup full of paint that breaks on the canvas) that distances the artist from the chromatic material and puts chance into play, through which the personalization of artistic expression is erased.

The result of his technique (the ‘bottle crash’) is a true chromatic explosion. In particular, his bottle crash actions of the last decade have an unusual configuration in terms of both the relationship between event and work, and the emotional dimension connected to the action. In fact, these are representative and spectacular moments, real social acts, which include the production of paintings as their outcome. The result is generated by chance, but the gesture and its spectacularity are carefully calibrated. Sometimes assuming an elevated position with respect to the “field” of work, Shimamoto does not limit himself to tossing plastic cups and bottles filled with color against the ground, but lifts them up, displays them in a sort of celebratory ostentation, and then allows them to fall. Shimamoto’s performances are a dramaturgical manifestation, often with the connotations of a dance. His canvases, like universes large and small, enclose this cosmic dance within them and release its energy before the viewer’s gaze.

Gunther UeckerUntitled, 1981Signed and dated lower rightNails and paint on canvas72.5 x 64 cm28 1/2 x 25 1/4 in

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Günther Uecker (1930, Germany), is known for his expressive and tactile works; white reliefs made of nails, whose different orientations, structures and dynamics on canvas often produce a poetic effect.

Fuelled by his interest in Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam, Uecker appropriated nontraditional materials and techniques to create works in a process close to a meditative ritual; the repetitive nature of hammering transforming his theories into a lived artistic practice.

The exploration of this signature medium began in the late 1950s and blossomed even further when Uecker joined the avant-garde Group Zero in 1961 with Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, as well as Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana. The Zero artists and other affiliated groups, such as the Dutch Nul and Azimuth in Italy, made paintings with fire, smoke, mirrors, dynamos, or even by destroying their canvasses. Piene wrote at the time, ‘Wir sind fur alles’: we are in favour of everything. Soon afterwards, influenced by studies on light, optics, oscillation, and electricity, Uecker moved beyond the constraints of the canvas. He created series of “light nails” and light boxes, kinetic nails (including revolving sacks of nails), and kinetic installations and machines using sand and water.

Produced during the time Uecker taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1974 to 1995), Ohne Titel is composed of sparsely organised, paint splattered nails with small heads, glued to a canvas into which he cut small slashes. To create this tactile effect, Uecker stretches canvas atop thick pieces of wood, intuitively painting the surfaces in a highly physical, ritualistic, and visceral manner thickly applying white paint. These piercings into the canvas, with the wood peeking through from the other side highlight the contrasting relationship between human violence, vulnerability, and political responsibility.
As in many of Uecker’s works, the relationship between the nails and the layers of white paint is constantly changing and still ongoing, through the chemical interactions of these materials.

Unlike in many of his earlier works, the nails are not geometrically but randomly spread across the canvas, as if scattered by the motion of the underlaying paint. Despite the slashes – in Uecker’s work are often synonymous with scars – there is almost no opposition between the two turbulent forces presented by nails and paint, but rather accord and coexistence. Moreover, the monochrome nature of the work opens up mystical possibilities allowing for the artist’s ‘space of spiritual existence’ to inhabit the canvas.

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