Heinz Mack (b. 1931)
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Heinz Mack (b. 1931)

Untitled (Grey-Black Waves)

Heinz Mack (b. 1931)
Untitled (Grey-Black Waves)
signed and dated twice 'MACK 58 Mack 58' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
49 ¼ x 43 3/8in. (125 x 110cm.)
Painted in 1958
Galerie Alfred Schmela, Dusseldorf.
Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above in 1968).
Thence by descent to the present owners.
R. Fleck (ed.), Heinz Mack Zero-Malerei/Painting Catalogue Raisonné 1956-1968 Volume II, Munich 2017, p. 37 (illustrated in colour).
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.


‘Every zone in between two lines displays an immensely rich color’
–Heinz Mack

Held in the same family collection for fifty years, Heinz Mack’s Untitled (grey-black waves) is a sublime example of the artist’s early abstract experiments involving painterly movement, space and chromaticism. With its repetitive rush of monochrome striations, a tower of horizontal black and white bands floods the canvas, coalescing in a breathtaking interplay of luminosity and shadow. The satisfying rhythmical reiteration of these strips is offset by constant derivations in tone and contrast, like the intricate, infinitesimal network of lines found in knotted wood. With a sharp juxtaposition of light and darkness, Mack achieves a destabilisation of colour and propulsion of energy that resonates with the core perspective of the Zero group, founded by Mack and Otto Piene in the year preceding this work. With Zero, Mack and his companions strove towards a reductive reconstruction of painting, shunning pictorial illusionism and gestural expressionism in favour of attending to surface, light and motion. In Untitled (grey-black waves), by juxtaposing zones of white with lines of jet-black, Mack liberates the very nature of colour, in turn manifesting a spatialised energy and kinetic momentum. ‘Every zone in between two lines displays an immensely rich color’, Mack declared, ‘the lines arrange themselves. Individual parallel zones gradually transform themselves from zone to zone, while at the same time they retain their distinct but mutual character – in this way they are brought into vibration’ (H. Mack, ‘The New Dynamic Structure’, reproduced in Zero, Cambridge, Mass, 1973, p. 14). With this optical effect, manifested stunningly in works such as Untitled (grey-black waves), Mack succeeds in conjuring a truly original sensory effect; the result of relentless movement.

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