June 6, 2014 - Langen Foundation - Otto Piene
June 6, 2014

Otto Piene

Otto Piene, Light and Air, 2014. Inflatables. Installation view, Langen Foundation, Neuss, 2014. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014. Photo: Wolfgang Vollmer.

Otto Piene
Light and Air

April 5–August 15, 2014

Langen Foundation
Raketenstation Hombroich 1
41472 Neuss
Hours: Daily 10am–6pm

T + 49 2182 5701 15
T + 49 2182 5701 10
info [​at​] langenfoundation.de


The Langen Foundation is pleased to present a solo show by German artist Otto Piene (b. 1928), the co-founder of the ZERO movement. Inspired by Tadao Ando’s museum architecture, Piene conceived an exhibition that focuses on his two central media: the energies light and air. Eight inflatables produced especially for the Foundation’s exhibition space with its eight-metre-high ceilings dominate one of the building’s two symmetrical large galleries. The inflatable sculptures, each dedicated to one rainbow colour, are filled with air at rhythmic intervals with the help of programmed blowers. The other gallery is devoted to the theme of light. Opposite to the action and sounds of the Inflatables, the dialog between a space-defining light wall and several rotating light sculptures—one of Piene’s typical Light Ballets—generates a different, less vibrant kind of dynamism.

Breaking with traditional media in the late 1950s, the ZERO artists Otto Piene, Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker started experimenting with uncommon materials. Light, motion, wind, fire, air and energy—the essential forces of nature were the elements that were employed by the artists. In particular with his Inflatables, Piene took another step in the direction of the dematerialisation of sculpture. Furthermore, almost from the beginning Piene used the most recent techniques, materials and equipment in order to realize his projects. Since 1968, he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, where he was director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies from 1974 to 1994 and worked on a close connection between science and technology on the one hand and art on the other. This issue appears frequently throughout Piene’s work until today, and also characterizes his exhibition at the Langen Foundation.

Highlight of the exhibition will be one of Piene’s so-called Sky Events, which will take place on the grounds of the Langen Foundation on August 9. It involves actions carried out by the artist since the 1960s, each time with a choreography developed especially for the specific occasion. Assisted by a large number of participants, helium-filled sculptures ascend into the sky over the course of a whole day. These actions relate to a large festivity that Piene comprehends as the central part of his piece: the celebration as a collective event that remains in the participants’ memories as a transforming new experience. 

Curator: Christiane Maria Schneider

Press contact: Constanze Murfitt, murfitt [​at​] langenfoundation.de

Otto Piene at Langen Foundation
Langen Foundation
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