Otto Piene

Biographical data
* 18 04 1928 | Laasphe
† 17 07 2014 | Berlin

Works by Otto Piene


Otto Piene

1928
Born in Laasphe/Westphalia, Germany
    
1949-1953
Studied painting and art at Munich and Düsseldorf  Art Academies
Lecturer at the School of Fashion, Düsseldorf
    
1952-1957
Studies and graduates in philosophy at the Albertus-Magnus University in Cologne
    
1957
Co-founder of the group "ZERO" together with Heinz Mack; First grid-paintings inspired by Yves Klein
    
1958-1961
Edition of the magazine "ZERO", together with Heinz Mack
    
1959
"Lichtballette" (Light Ballets) and "Rauchbilder" (Smoke Paintings) exploring the elemental forces of nature
    
1960
Experiments with multimedia combinations
    
1963
Leading exponent of the so-called "Neuer Idealismus" movement, together with Guenther Uecker and Heinz Mack
    
1964
Visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania
   
1965
First solo exhibition in New York
   
1971
Commissioned to supervise the artistic design for the opening and the closing ceremonies of the XX Olympic Games in Munich
    
1972
Appointed Professor for Environmental Art at the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts
    
1974
Appointed Director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge/Ma. and Professor of Visual Design for Environmental Art
    
1977
Participation at the "documenta 6" in Kassel
    
1989-1990
Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Minister for Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
    
1994
Awarded honorary doctorate (Doctor of Fine Arts) by the University of Maryland BC
   
1996
Awarded Sculpture Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York
    
2014
Died in Berlin
    
Together with Heinz Mack, Otto Piene founded the internationally renowned artists' group ZERO in 1957, later to be joined by Guenther Uecker, which perceived itself as a response to the informal/gestural art (Art Informel) prevailing at the time. In contrast to Abstract Expressionism, ZERO is characterised by a reductive and controlled application of colour. From 1960 Otto Piene began an intensive exploration of the interplay of light, motion and space in which he transformed, blackened or even burned his canvases to fashion his so-called smoke and fire paintings, whose surfaces bore the destructive traces of the fire in the form of residues. Their beauty and expressive energy were reinforced by lyrical, associative titles.

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