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* 18.04.1928 Westfalen, † 07.07.2014 Berlin

Otto Piene was born in Bad Laasphe in Westphalia on 18 April 1928. He studied painting and art education at the academies of Munich and Düsseldorf and went on to study philosophy at the University of Cologne. As a reaction to the abstract Art Informel, Otto Piene and Heinz Mack founded the artist group ZERO in 1957, which Günther Uecker later joined. The group aspired to a radical and unencumbered new beginning in art and turned away from the traditional principles and conventional artistic media. Instead of brush and paint, the ensemble employed new materials and experimented with elemental forces of nature, such as light, movement, wind, fire, air and energy, and incorporated these components into their works. The trio was represented at documenta 3 in 1964 with the collaborative work ‘ZERO-Lichtraum’ (ZERO Light Room), which, by means of rotating light machines and a timer, was constantly changing. Up to this point, Piene also worked as a lecturer at the fashion school in Düsseldorf. In 1964 he moved to America and taught first at the University of Pennsylvania, and later at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1972 Piene created the gigantic rainbow for the Summer Olympics in Munich. In 1996 he received the Sculpture Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2003 the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Art.

Piene is best known for his light-kinetic works. He designed light ballets and smoke pictures and sought to establish a connection between nature and technology in a playful way. In addition, Piene created grid and fire pictures, constructed air and light sculptures and staged internationally successful Sky Events. Otto Piene died in Berlin on 7 July 2014. His works are exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and elsewhere.

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Lot 3424 - A207 PostWar & Contemporary - Thursday 30 November 2023, 02.00 PM


(Laasphe 1928–2014 Berlin)
Untitled. 1959.
Pencil on thin paper.
Signed and dated lower right: Piene 59, as well as with the blindstamp lower right: Cornelius EMIL HENNIG DÜSSELDORF. Inscribed on the reverse: Nr. 14.
50 × 65 cm.

CHF 5 000 / 8 000 | (€ 5 150 / 8 250)

Sold for CHF 6 875 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.

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