- Heinz Mack
- Untitled (Lamellen-Relief)
- signed and dated 61 on the reverse
- aluminium on panel
- 130 by 105cm.
- 51 1/8 by 41 1/2 in.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 1970
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Zero Internationaal Antwerpen, 1979-80
Salzburg, Museum Carolino Augusteum, Bilder und Objekte aus der Sammlung Lenz Schönberg. Eine europäische Bewegung, 1985
Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, ZERO. Vision und Bewegung. Werke aus der Sammlung Lenz Schönberg, 1988, p. 119, illustrated
Moscow, Zentrales Künstlerhaus, Sammlung Lenz Schönberg. Eine europäische Bewegung in der bildenden Kunst von 1958 bis heute, 1989
Warsaw, Galeria Zachęta, Sammlung Lenz Schönberg. Aus der Stille der Zeit - über die Grenzen von Raum, 1992, p. 152, illustrated in colour
Innsbruck, Kunstbrücke, Raiffeisen-Landesbank, ZERO. Die europäische Vision - 1958 bis heute. Sammlung Lenz Schönberg, 2003, p. 47, illustrated
Zagreb, Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, ZERO. Die europäische Vision - 1958 bis heute. Sammlung Lenz Schönberg, 2004, p. 87, illustrated
Salzburg, Museum der Moderne, ZERO. Künstler einer europäischen Bewegung. Sammlung Lenz Schönberg 1956-2006, 2006, p. 99, illustrated in colour
Frankfurt am Main, Schirn Kunsthalle, OP ART, 2007, p. 239, illustrated
Dieter Honisch, Mack: Skulpturen 1953-1986, Düsseldorf 1986, p. 502, no. 552, illustrated
Bożena Kowalska, 'Kolekcja Gerharda Lenza: Gerhard Lenz's Collection', in: Projekt: Sztuka wazualna i projektowanie visual art & design 195, June 1990, pp. 7-10, illustrated
'Zero: Die europäische Vision - 1958 bis heute; Sammlung Lenz Schönberg', in: Vernissage: Das Magazin für aktuelles Ausstellungsgeschehen 23, No. 223, April 2003, pp. 22-25, illustrated
'Spirit des Neubeginns', in: Econova: Wirtschaftsmagazin, May-June 2003, pp. 88-89, illustrated
Anna and Gerhard Lenz with Ulrike Bleicker-Honisch, Epoche Zero. Sammlung Lenz Schönberg. Leben in Kunst, Vol. I, Ostfildern 2009, p. 101, no. MA-04, illustrated in colour
A centrepiece of the Sammlung Lenz Schönberg since its acquisition forty years ago, Heinz Mack's Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) is a perfect archetype of Zero art, created by one of the two founding members of this remarkable engine of invention and creativity. Executed in 1961 at the very zenith of the Zero epoch and the year in which over one thousand people attended the spectacular event ZERO – Edition, Exposition, Demonstration in front of Galerie Schmela in the Old Town of Düsseldorf, Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) encapsulates the artist's burning desire to reinvent the tradition of two dimensions into something relevant for a new age of science and technology. The creation of a highly passionate thirty year old, this work represents the critical link between Mack's earlier painted experiments that produced in the studio, and the extraordinary scope of his later monumental work that interacted directly with nature. Organised in expanding and contracting horizontal bands, the multitudinous aluminium Lamellen, or "shutters", shimmer and reverberate with reflected light. Immediately arresting in scale and simply stunning in its captivating visual effect, Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) was selected to advertise the 2006 exhibition Zero. Künstler Einer Europäischen Bewegung held at the magnificent Museum der Moderne situated on the Mönchsberg high above Salzburg.
The present work's existence is governed by dynamism: continuing adjustments of fluctuating light and even the subtlest movements of the viewer's perspective engender an ever-changing dance of reflection on its surface. Mack's brilliant concept is to necessitate the involvement of the viewer and of light in order to complete the work. In fact, despite being entirely intangible and impossible to define, these dynamic forces ultimately become the work of art itself. It is the exact summation of art, nature and technology that was so central to the Zero ethos, and dramatically punctuates Mack's career as a Zero artist.
Together with his close friend Otto Piene, in the late 1950s Mack had organised a series of groundbreaking one-night events in their shared studio in Düsseldorf, know as the Evening Exhibitions. The eighth of these shows, which took place in May 1958, had focused on the importance of movement and vibration, and the exhibited works shared an affinity for structured surfaces, relief and reflective materials. Having held his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Schmela the previous year, in 1958 Heinz Mack renounced colour painting and started to produce black or white canvases and, crucially, created his first light reliefs and light cubes in polished aluminium. Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) is the full-evolved manifestation of these earliest experiments.
Fixated with the potential effects achieved by channelling light, Mack was drawn to unique natural conditions and blinding power of light in the desert. At the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris he exhibited a model of a vibrating column that would reflect light in the desert and in 1959 he conceived his ingenious and hugely ambitious Sahara Project, designed as a "vibrating light phenomenon" to be executed with ten other artists and involving twelve reflective light stations. It was intended to fuse natural and artistic space on an architectural scale, and consequently to create a new dimension in an environment devoid of human presence. This hypothetical venture was a major contribution to the scope of Zero, with drawings for it appearing in the catalogue-magazine ZERO 3 that accompanied ZERO – Edition, Exposition, Demonstration in the same year that Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) was created. Between 1962 and 1963 Mack travelled in Morocco and Algeria where he experimented with light in the desert, and he finally realised a part of the Sahara Project in Tunisia in 1968.
The spectacular exhibition Vision in Motion – Motion in Vision held at the Hessenhuis in Antwerp also took place in 1959, and demonstrated the importance of movement and light for the Zero artists exhibited, which included Mack. Thematic inspiration for the show was indebted to László Moholy-Nagy's 1947 publication Vision in Motion. Executed shortly after this important exhibition, Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) acts as the perfect counterpart to Moholy-Nagy's 1922 statement "We must therefore replace the static principle of classical art with the dynamic principle of universal life", and embodies his belief that light was a medium in itself that could "build a sensory bridge to our capacity for creating abstract concepts" (cited in: Krisztina Passuth, Moholy-Nagy, London 1985, p. 290). Untitled (Lamellen-Relief) is testament to Mack's ceaseless experimentation and is one of the earliest triumphs of an artistic philosophy that has defined his work ever since.