As a founding member of the Group Zero, Otto Piene was one of the most influential artists of post-war Germany. Specializing in abstraction and kinetic art, the so-called “Rauchbilder”, paintings made with smoke and fire, are among his most prominent artworks. Piene applied solvent to pigmented paper and lit it on fire, using the residual soot to develop images. From the beginnings of his career, Otto Piene was very innovative in exploring the correlation between nature, art and technology. Alongside Heinz Mack, he established the legendary Group Zero in 1958, which was later also joined by Günther Uecker, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana. The artists were united in their desire to de-emphasize the role of the artist and to create art that was only about the artwork’s materials and world in which those materials exist. In other words: light and space.
German, 1928–2014, Laasphe, Germany, based in Düsseldorf, Germany.