A hypnotic painting extending almost one metre in length, Untitled (Rasterbild) is an intense field of pulsating monochrome corrugations. Created in 1959, this ambitious work is an early example of Otto Piene's Rasterbilder paintings, created shortly after the inauguration of the ground-breaking and highly influential Zero Group founded by Piene and Heinz Mack in 1957, which promoted a new definition for painting that rejected the gestural expressions of the prevailing model of Art Informel.
The poetic resonance of Piene's singular and uncompromising vision can be seen in the shimmering, rhythmic formations created in Untitled (Rasterbild). Expanding across the vast surface of Untitled (Rasterbild), Piene energises the purity and light-intensity of the work's monochrome colour through its raised surface of repeated dots, redolent of Lucio Fontana's spatial concept. Employing waves of white paint, Piene creates an undulating pattern across the monochromatic background. Contributing to this tactile surface, each pulsating wave appears as though code, in this way extending beyond purely formal concerns. Made by applying a thick coat of paint over a patterned stencil, the iridescent pattern of dots disrupts the two-dimensionality of the painting's surface with a volatile but rhythmic pattern of light and shade, accentuating the vibratory power of the neutral palette as it radiates and reflects into space. Expanding upon the Zero Group's spatial aesthetic, in which seriality and pure colour were used to create a sense of energy, the deliberate use of brilliant white creates a current 'between the work and the spectator and fill[s] the space between them. This space cannot be quantified because the spatial properties of the work are irrational - the work "as space" is irrational' (O. Piene, quoted in 'Paths to Paradise' (1961), in O. Piene and H. Mack (eds.), zero, Cambridge 1973, p. 64).