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    Sale 11798

    Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction

    30 June 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 108

    Otto Piene (1928-2014)

    Untitled (Rasterbild)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Otto Piene (1928-2014)
    Untitled (Rasterbild)
    signed and dated 'O. Piene 57/82' (lower right)
    oil on cardboard
    28 7/8 x 40 ¼in. (73.3 x 102.1cm.)
    Executed in 1982, using a grid from 1957


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    ‘Vibration [is a] living growing nuance, that which prohibits contrast, shames all tragedy and disbands all drama. It is the vehicle of frequency, the blood of colour, the pulse of light, pure emotion, the purity of a picture, pure energy’ (O. Piene, quoted in Zero Künstler einer europäischen Bewegung, Sammlung Lenz Schönberg 1956-2000, exh. cat., Salzburger Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, 2006, p. 122).


    With its intense terrain of infinitesimal dots, undulating in dense, black and white striations across the picture plane - resembling a flattened world map - Otto Piene’s Untitled (Rasterbild) is a hypnotic example of the artist’s seminal Rasterbilder. Inaugurated in 1957, and pursued throughout his career, these ground-breaking works were among the first creations that announced the birth of the highly-influential Zero Group, which Piene co-founded with Heinz Mack. Taking its name and meaning from the moment of a rocket’s lift-off, the Zero Group sought to bring about a radical departure from traditional painting techniques, awakening new visual languages to correspond to a rapidly-advancing age of scientific discovery. By employing immense perforated screens to produce a dazzlingly tactile surface of repeated, raised dots, Piene’s Rasterbilder sought to engage the intangible forces of space, time and motion. As the artist explained, ‘the light of colour flows between the work and the spectator and fills the space between them’ (O. Piene quoted in S. Peterson (ed.), Space-Age Aesthetics, Philadelphia 2009, p. 205).

    Situated between the worlds of art and technology, the title Rasterbild is derived from the German raster for ‘grid’, but also recalls the regulated pattern of parallel scanning lines produced on cathode-ray tube televisions. These works emit a resonant, reverberant power, resembling the waves of radar, a novel mid-twentieth century phenomenon which represented a new kind of imaging technology: one whose inner workings were no longer visible to the naked eye. Contemporaneous with the development of Yves Klein’s monochromes and Lucio Fontana’s punctured canvases, Piene’s Rasterbilder reconceived the picture plane as an energy-generating surface: ‘vibration’, the artist suggested, ‘[is a] living growing nuance, that which prohibits contrast, shames all tragedy and disbands all drama. It is the vehicle of frequency, the blood of colour, the pulse of light, pure emotion, the purity of a picture, pure energy’ (O. Piene, quoted in Zero Künstler einer europäischen Bewegung, Sammlung Lenz Schönberg 1956-2000, exh. cat., Salzburger Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, 2006, p. 122). With its dizzying, pulsating surface, the present work powerfully embodies this notion.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Provenance

    Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011.