'My works only live when they have their light, the right light, because they are objects of light, instruments of light and an expression of lights energy.'
(Mack, quoted in "Heinz Mack - What is, for me, a sculpture?", reproduced at http:/www.mack-kunst.com/sculptures/reflections.html).
Glistening and shimmering in the outdoor light, Heinz Mack's monumental Der Garten im Garten stands as a wonderful example of the artist's outdoor "relief" sculptures. Translated as 'Garden within a Garden,' the title manifests Mack's intention to explore the combination of art, nature and technology as clear Perspex is interspersed with thin aluminium. The use of industrial materials is characteristic of Mack's technique and was radically unfamiliar for sculpture at the time these works were conceived.
A development from the work Der Garten Eden (1966-67), Der Garten im Garten alludes to a garden panorama, but this natural component is juxtaposed by the use of cold and industrial aluminium. Despite the static nature of this work, the composition emanates a sense of dynamism that is exemplified by the translucency of this aluminium mesh, and the nature in which each of the elements extend themselves playfully across the three panels as if they are fabric or trees, coupled the subtle folds, suggests movement, as if flowing in the wind. As it stands in natural surroundings, Der Garten im Garten allows for the articulation of the light on the relief area, the aluminium welcoming the capacity for reflection. In doing so it abandons the concepts of a traditional pictorial space and harsh sentiment associated with the medium, and instead the viewer focuses on the overall play of light, reflection and vibration, in essence capturing intangible notions from material form.
By placing the work outside, its appearance differs each time it is viewed and we experience an ever evolving play between structure and light. As Mack explains, 'Structure is an internal arrangement of simple and complex relationships which appear in the form of rhythms. The appearance of these relationships is in this case the form. Such relationships exist between body and space, light and shadow, calm and movement. They can be experienced with the sense of sight (I do not make any objects which can be felt). This "seeing" has to be both sensual and cognitive and it has to have a dynamic quality to be able to represent the kinetic light volume of the sculpture, and last but not least the sensation which the rhythms induce has a strong sensual quality.'(ibid.) By necessitating the involvement of the viewer and of light to complete the work, Der Garten im Garten reveals Mack's true artistic brilliance.