Otto Piene

Otto Piene is one of the most important German post-war artists. Born in 1929 Otto Piene was brought up in Lübeck (Germany) and, after his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and Düsseldorf, he completed his academic education with studies on philosophy at the University of Cologne. In 1957- Otto Piene and Heinz Mack founded the group ZERO; which Günther Uecker joined in 1961. Their aim was to create a recommencement of contemporary art, starting at the point ZERO with new artworks emphasizing predominantly on light. Piene primarily aimed in his artworks to visualize light, fire, and air; so he started to create Op-Art inspired raster paintings, followed by smoke and fire paintings, and finally switched to Kinetic Art and created “light ballets”. His oeuvre is very extensive and complex; he worked with different mediums and techniques and was always looking for new transboundary art experiments. After some years as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, he was appointed professor for Environmental Art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. He mainly worked and lived in Massachusetts and Düsseldorf. Otto Piene died unexpectedly one day after the opening of his great retrospective show in Berlin “Otto Piene. More Sky” in July 2014.

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