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Sale: 416 / Post War / Contemporary Art, June 07. 2014 in Munich Lot 725

Lot description
Hommage à Fontana I. 1962.
Object. Wood, nails, canvas, acrylic and pencil.
Honisch 237 with illu. on p. 72. Signed lower left. Verso signed, titled and dedicated as well as with arrow indicating the driection. 110,1 x 84,8 cm (43,3 x 33,3 in). [KP].

PROVENANCE: Collection Lothar Wolleh, Düsseldorf.
Collection Ludwig Poullain, Münster.

EXHIBITION: Hommage à Fontana, Kunst- und Museumsverein Wuppertal, 20 September - 2 November, 1969, cat. no. 80.
Günther Uecker. Bildobjekt 1957-1970, Moderna Museet Stockholm, 16 January - 28 February; 1971, cat. no. 12.
Günther Uecker, Kestner-Gesellschaft Hanover, 5 May - 18 June, 1972, cat. no. 18.
Günther Uecker, Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz, 20 December, 1974 - 19 January, 1975.

Günther Uecker was born in Wendorf, Mecklenburg on 13 March 1930. He began his artistic education in 1949 when he took up studies at Wismar. He then went to the art school in Berlin-Weißensee and in 1955 to Düsseldorf. Here Uecker studied under Otto Pankok at the Kunstakademie where he has also been teaching since 1974. He made his first nail pictures towards the end of the 1950s. Uecker met the group ZERO with Heinz Mack and Otto Piene in 1960, artists who propagated a new beginning of art in opposition to the German Informel. He occupied himself with the medium of light, studied optical phenomena, series of structures and the realms of oscillation which actively integrate the viewer and enable him to influence the visual process by kinetic or manual interference. Uecker, Mack and Piene began working together in joint studios at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1962 and installed a 'Salon de Lumière' at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Other 'light salons' followed in Krefeld and in Frankfurt. Since 1966, after the group ZERO dissolved and a last joint exhibition, Uecker increasingly used nails as an artistic means of expression - a material which, until today, stands in the centre of his oeuvre. At the beginning of the 1960s he began hammering nails into pieces of furniture, musical instruments and household objects, then he began combining nails with the theme of light, creating his series of light nails and kinetic nails and other works. Light and electricity continued to be one of the main subjects and natural materials such as sand and water were included in his installations, resulting in an interaction of the different elements to create a sensation of light, space, movement and time. Günther Uecker's oeuvre includes painting, object art, installations as well as stage designs and films. His origins explain his interest in the eastern European avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s, but he is likewise interested in Asian cultures and their ideas.

Next to the usage of nails it is also the dominance of color and the spatial concept that is decisive for Uecker's art. While he receives important impulses from other "ZERO"- artists on the one hand, it is his Italian artist colleague Lucio Fontana on the other hand who had great influence on him, both in practical as well as in theoretic terms: Common grounds can be found in Fontana's manifestos, in which the Italian speaks of art with a reference to space and the extension of space on the image carrier. In this context this object with the title "Hommage à Fontana" must be understood more than literally, for it is the result of an examination of Fontana's concepts in Uecker's typical style. The interpretation of the spatial concept to Uecker is not liminted to the picture plate, here with nails in various sizes, additionally, Uecker explores space in form of performances or with large spatial installations. When integrating this knowledge into the analysis, a remarkably stringent concept within Uecker's oeuvre becomes obvious, making this work and the context it was made in comrehensible. Hommage and vision at the same time, this is a key work that occupies a front rank in Günther Uecker's spectacular creation.

His works can be seen in collections and large fairs in the West as well as the East. Uecker's artistic creativity reached a peak in 2000 in the prayer room he designed for the Berlin Reichstag building. Günther Uecker teaches, lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Günther Uecker
Hommage à Fontana I, 1962.
€ 200,000 / $ 226,000
€ 1,260,000 / $ 1.423.799

(incl. 20% surcharge)

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Günther Uecker - Hommage à Fontana I - Back side
Back side
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