Günther Uecker

Günther Uecker is a German artist and member of the ZERO movement, known for his distinctive use of nails arranged in tactile, sculptural paintings. Following his interest in Eastern philosophies, Uecker’s use of nails on canvas served as a meditative ritual with the repetitive nature of hammering, he has transformed his theories into a lived artistic practice. While studying in post-war Berlin, Uecker was initially drawn to painting by Socialist Realism and began creating reliefs in 1957. Born on March 13, 1930 in Wendorf, the artist met John Cage in 1959, who influenced the entire scope of his work. In Uecker’s late work, the artist simply initiates a project and lets it go where it needs to go – wherever that may be, even if at some point it is no longer in his hands. In 1961, after joining the ZERO group with Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, Uecker expanded his process to gain audience participation. The artist currently lives and works in Düsseldorf. Uecker’s works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, among others.