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Otto Piene

Press release

Otto Piene

Otto Piene counts among the pioneers of 20th century art. As co-founder of the international ZERO movement, he had a fundamental impact on how classical art forms such as painting and sculpture are perceived. His early smoke, grid and fire paintings, light ballets and light rooms enabled him to incorporate time, light, space and movement into the production of art. His interdisciplinary projects in Germany and the US and most especially his move to the United States at the end of the 1960s opened new horizons in his experimental practice. Starting in the 1970s, Piene developed a large number of projects as director of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (1974-1993). Working at the interface of art and technological innovation, Piene collaborated with artists, scientists, and technicians and created gigantic, but ephemeral works. Process-oriented and transient in nature, the so-called Sky Events pose a challenge to the traditional understanding of art in public space. 

The current exhibition at Sprüth Magers focuses on an apex of Otto Piene’s experimental approach at the end of the 1960s. The exhibition is dedicated to a selection of sketches, drafts, works on paper and written commentaries, as well as scores from Inflatables and Sky Events. Other works on show include the installation Red Sundew 2, the video work Electronic Light Ballet and a Light Ghost.