In the wake of World War II, many artists were striving for an artistic expression that would satisfy their need for a new beginning, a base ‘zero’, free from the gestural brushwork and pictorial sentimentality of the Tachisme and Art Informel movements that proliferated during the 1950s. This was nowhere achieved as pertinently as in the ZERO group. As succinctly summarised by Otto Piene: “Zero is the incommensurable zone in which the old state turns into the new” (Otto Piene, ‘Die Entstehung der Gruppe 'Zero', The Times Literary Supplement, 3 September 1964, n.p.).
Comprising a white-washed relief suffused by a vivid interplay of light and dark, Weiβes Feld reflects the primary concerns of the ZERO movement. Considered to be the very essence of cosmic power, light and colour would become synonymous for the ZERO artists with the spiritual liberation of the individual. As outlined by Uecker: “My objects are spatial realities, zones of light. I use mechanical means in order to overcome the subjective gesture, to objectify it, and to create the situation of freedom” (Günther Uecker cited in: Alexander Tolnay, op. cit. 2006, p. 54). Weiβes Feld endures as a model of subtle elegance and dynamism, a lyrical work that is at once static, where the artist encourages the viewer to walk around and experience the piece. Each of the nails was affixed to the board with physical force and exertion, yet together as a final composition they appear dynamic, their ambulatory patterns creating an effect that forever refuses to abate. From every angle the viewer discovers a new mix of patterns, motions and shadows. It is this optical effect that invites the viewer's eye to roam across the surface of the work, seeking new relationships between volume and shadow. A lyrical coalition of the primary principles of Uecker’s idiosyncratic oeuvre, Weiβes Feld affords a revolutionary departure from the conventional concepts of pictorial space. It is a poetic embodiment of the meditative power of art.
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