The combination of fine sand granules, kaolin clay, and sharp nails present an engaging contrast in dimension and texture and imparts a sculpturesque quality to the surface of Günther Uecker's Schlachtfeld. The incorporation of unconventional materials is characteristic of Uecker's approach to art and one that has played a significant role in his technique since the early 1960s.
As a key player in the Dusseldorf-based Zero movement, Uecker's works examine notions of renewal from the collective memory of affliction faced by his post-war generation. Together with other Zero members, including Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, Uecker's art embodies ideas of a new beginning from point zero distancing themselves from the wartime atrocities perpetuated by their country.
The nail-filled canvas of Schlachtfeld, executed in 1966, is an example of Günther Uecker's unique oeuvre. The angular positioning of the nails diagonally through the composition creates a relationship between light and shadow and brings a sense of energy and motion to the surface. Uecker highlights the dichotomy between violence and placidity by contrasting harsh materials and tranquil forms.