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Working in a post-war age noted for its burgeoning scientific discoveries and technological advancements, Mack strove to articulate a new pictorial language befitting of his contemporary moment. In 1957, just a year prior to the present work’s creation, Mack co-founded the revolutionary ZERO movement with Otto Piene. Having met in 1950 as students at the legendary Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, the two artists propagated a radical abstract aesthetic, foregrounding such elements as light, time, movement and colour over more traditional artistic ideals. The ZERO movement soon took the art world by storm: by 1960 they had been joined by a network of artists across Europe including Günther Uecker, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, with the shared goal and “mutual aspiration to reclaim art’s experimental and forward-looking potential in the aftermath of World War II” (Valerie Hillings, ‘Countdown to a New Beginning: The Multinational Zero Network, 1950s-60s’ in: Exh. Cat., New York, The Museum of Modern Art, ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s, 2014, p. 16).
In Ohne Titel (Dynamische Struktur), the rippling, linear formations of hardened resin over a deep grey cotton backdrop appear to tremble with energy and life, leading the eye in a trance-like motion across the pictorial plane. Radically exploiting light as a medium in its own right, Mack’s textured surface seems aglow in monochromatic hues that interact with their surrounding environment. “For me,” the artist explains, “light is immaterial, and in my case, I prefer to make works that are instruments for light. My sculptures do have a kind of function: of making light visible" (Heinz Mack in conversation with Stephanie Bailey, in: Exh. Cat., London, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Heinz Mack: Zero & More, 2015, p. 15). With its monochromatic, mesmeric patterns and timeless splendour, Ohne Titel (Dynamische Struktur) epitomises Mack’s pioneering vision for an art liberated from the shackles of the past.
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