Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Otto Piene (1928-2014)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SOUTH GERMAN COLLECTION
Otto Piene (1928-2014)

Mud Moon

Details
Otto Piene (1928-2014)
Mud Moon
signed with the artist's monogram, titled and dated '"Mud Moon" opiene '81/85' (on the reverse)
oil and soot on canvas
200 x 150cm.
Executed in 1981-1985
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2011.
Exhibited
Munich, Walter Storms Galerie, 5 Jahre Schellingstraße 48, 2014.
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.

Brought to you by

Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

The immediacy and boldness of Otto Piene’s uncompromising vision is exemplified in Mud Moon, showcasing the poetic resonance of his smoke and fire pictures with the seminal Rasterbilder of his Zero group period. As one of the founding members of Zero, Piene’s oeuvre is synonymous with the group’s key premise: the rejection of expressionism and subjectivity and an enthusiasm for the renewal of art via new materials. As the artist explains, ‘ZERO is an incommensurable zone in which the old state turns into the new’ (O. Piene, quoted in U. Schmitt, ‘The Zero Era’ in The Zero Era: The Lenz Schonberg Collection, Germany 2009, p. 7). With its abstract aesthetic and unorthodox mode of production, Mud Moon demonstrates a decisive change in the manner in which the canvas is handled, tested and pushed to its material limits beyond the application of paint.

Beginning the same year as the inauguration of the Zero group, Piene employed immense perforated screens to produce a dazzlingly tactile surface of repeated, raised dots, repeatedly returning to the Rasterbilder technique over a period of nearly sixty years. Emulating and extending the sense of new spatial possibilities indicated by Yves Klein's monochromes and Lucio Fontana’s punctured canvases, Piene evokes a spatialist concept of light stating that 'the light of colour flows between the work and the spectator and fills the space between them.' (O. Piene quoted in S. Peterson (eds.), Space-Age Aesthetics, Philadelphia, 2009, p. 205). In an attempt to capture elemental forces, the combination of these grids informs the composition of Mud Moon where the artist applies soot to the canvas through similar stencil sieves, lightly burning a layer of solvent to develop organic forms from the remnant. Refracting the elemental interplay between dark and light, a single scorched circle dissolves the chiaroscuro into a veil of subtle half-tones.

As the title of this work suggests and in harnessing the obliterating power of fire to create art, Piene succeeded in his search for a way to encompass the intangible force of the universe within his work. As the artist explains, ‘My greater dream concerns the projection of light into the wide night sky, the feel of the universe, as presented in the light, pristine and unhindered – the sky is the only place that offers to humankind almost unlimited freedom’. Executed between 1981 and 1985, almost two decades after the Zero group disbanded, Mud Moon represents a continuation of the energy and free-spirited experimentation that defined the movement’s original aims.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art

View All
View All