Heinz Mack

*1931 in Lollar, Germany

Co-founder of the ZERO group and pioneer of a new understanding of art

Light is the central artistic theme of Heinz Mack, who was born in Lollar, Hesse, in 1931. In his painting, Mack understands “color as light and light as color”. Color intensity and light intensity determine his paintings and are used in ever-changing spectral observations. The colors flow into each other in a seamless and nuanced manner without losing their conciseness and luminosity. Mack creates rhythmic and sensual color sequences through the deliberate use of color contrasts.

In 1957, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene founded the ZERO movement in Düsseldorf, which Günther Uecker also joined in 1961. ZERO became a new beginning in art and created new design principles and aesthetic ideas in which light and movement dominated. For Heinz Mack, this period was artistically groundbreaking and characterized by permanent experimentation with material, light and movement. In addition to the “Dynamic Structures” in his paintings, Mack created numerous sculptural works such as vibrating light reliefs, kinetic rotors, monumental light steles and light-reflecting cubes.
The multifaceted work of Heinz Mack

Heinz Mack’s graphic works are particularly extensive. Until the early 1980s, he created complex works such as collages, silver and gold embossing, silkscreens on glass, aluminum and Ultraphan foil, as well as prints on double-sheet montages. From the 1990s onwards, traditional techniques such as silkscreens, lithographs, woodcuts and linocuts dominated.

Heinz Mack’s oeuvre is extraordinarily diverse: Mack creates his sculptures from a wide variety of materials, in particular light steles, light rotors, light reliefs and light cubes. His oeuvre is also characterized by paintings, drawings, inks, pastels, prints, photography and bibliophile works as well as the design of public spaces, church interiors, stage sets and mosaics.


Represented in the world’s most important collections and awarded the highest honors

To date, Heinz Mack’s works have been shown in over 300 solo exhibitions and countless participations in exhibitions. Highlights include his participation in Documenta II, Documenta III and the XXXV Venice Biennale, as well as the major Zero exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum and the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin in 2014 and 2015.

Heinz Mack has been awarded a number of important prizes, including the Art Prize of the City of Krefeld (1958), the Premio Marzotto (1963), the 1st Prix arts plastiques of the 4th Biennale de Paris (1965), the 1st Prize of the international competition Licht 79 of the Netherlands (1979), the Grand Culture Prize of the Rheinischer Sparkassenverband (1992) and the Prize of the Dortmund Cultural Foundation (2012). In 2011, the artist was honored with the “Grand Cross of Merit with Star” of the Federal Republic of Germany. Mack was also appointed professor at the Osaka Art Academy (Japan) and a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts.

Today, his works are represented in more than 130 public collections worldwide.