Artist biography

Günther Uecker born 1930

German painter, sculptor and kinetic artist, most of whose works incorporate nails and are painted white. Born in Wendorf, Mecklenburg, East Germany. Studied painting in Wismar and at the Academy in Berlin-Weissensee 1949-53, then at Düsseldorf Academy 1953-7. Began in 1957 to make paintings in white, black or red with an all-over structure of dots or vertical or horizontal lines; also in the same year made his first white works incorporating nails. Worked first with regular mathematical sequences of nails, then from 1960 introduced organic structures, and made his first revolving disc-shaped structures and his first light boxes. Friendship with Yves Klein, Mack and Piene, and from 1961 worked closely with Mack and Piene in the activities of the Zero group. Experimented with oscillation patterns, with nailed chairs, tables, pianos, with revolving sacks of nails, with 'light nails', and from 1966 with high frequency currents, light machines, sand machines, etc., sometimes from 1969 executing large-scale projects in the countryside. His works also include monochrome embossed prints, several films and the design of sets and costumes for Fidelio 1974 and Parsifal 1976. Lives in Düsseldorf.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.732