Heinz Mack – The Light Inside Me – Paintings at Osthaus Museum Hagen / Germany

03.June – 03 September 2023

The sculptor and painter Heinz Mack (*1931) is one of the world’s most important artistic personalities of our time. The years 1957-1963, the ZERO years, are of particular importance for Mack’s pictorial career. In 1957 Mack initially decided against a painting of color. At that time, the focus was on the concept of structure. Black-and-white paintings were created, which Mack titled “Dynamic Structures.” 

After 1960, however, he produced multi-colored structural drawings, which Mack himself called “Farbchromatiken.” The theme of the Farbchromatiken is the continuum of colored light. Both the sequence of the light color is important here as well as the transition that forms between the individual colors, the nuance. Mack does not transfer the spectral colors into the color chromatics with a scientific claim, because this means to initiate an uncreative, non-artistic process. It is the respective picture itself which finds its colors, not the prism has to take over the picture finding. 

Mack gave up panel painting altogether in 1963. At the beginning of the 1990s, he created his new color paintings, which he continues today. When asked about his color paintings at the time, the artist commented, “The identity of color and light … is the object of my painting, it is its only object … The essence of color is its radiation.” 

We are dealing in these recent works with a “painterly painting” whose quality is nuance. Nuance, which is a crucial principle of chromaticism, denotes the transition zone from one color to another. Mack’s enthusiasm, especially for classical music, has an analogy with his autonomous light painting, free of the representational, which continues to this day: “The autonomy of my painting must have the same meaning that it has in music. I also suspect that my musicality and interest in timbre and rhythm influences my painting. Everything I do is object-free, in sculpture as in painting.” 

In this major exhibition, we focus on Heinz Mack’s more recent paintings. At the same time, some reference paintings from the earlier phases will also be integrated, likewise occasional sculptures. 

On display will be a total of 66 works from the years 1958 to 2023: 43 paintings (Chromatic Constellations), seven wall reliefs/objects, 15 sculptures and a light stele. 

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