Exhibition text

Works 1958 - 2018

"Entering paradise on earth while still alive". A sentence by Heinz Mack. With his recent exhibition at the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf and the accompanying almost legendary catalog book "Deeds of Light. Mack & Goethe," he has at least arrived on Olympus. In fact, the current work of the now 87-year-old is the culmination of the development of his entire oeuvre, not a late work - and if then only in the very best sense of, for example, a Monet - and also not a late derivation of the beginning in ZERO but a Summa Artis of his entire so extensive and diverse work.

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The fact that we can and are allowed to show his work in our rooms at this time seems to us to be a special luck. And the fact that we were able to win over the Mack connoisseur and admirer Beat Wismer for the text of our catalog is just as fortunate.

We will probably be asked about our enthusiasm for Heinz Mack, since we are proven Kirchner, "Brücke" and Expressionism experts, and we grew up in the abstraction of the Ecole de Paris or Tachism that spilled over from before the war into the 1950s (which, however, already protuberated into a strong concrete expression).

Well: apart from the fact that great art, no matter in which time and in which language or style it was formulated, always fits together, there are signs of vitae parallelae, for example, between Kirchner and Mack, both biographically and artistically.

Both were co-founders of an extremely fruitful collaboration, active for about eight years each, in a group of artists that had a far-reaching impact on the world of art, "Brücke" the one and ZERO the other. If these two laboratories of basic artistic research are also half a century and two generations apart, as well as the experience of the destruction of a large part of humanity and even humanity, which largely removed the object of representation from art, there are also artistic similarities, for example, with Kirchner.

The master of light - and thus of color - Heinz Mack can certainly be found in what Kirchner had in mind with "Keiner hat diese Farben wie ich" ("No one has these colors like I do"), and in the same way the fierce vibrating structures of a Heinz Mack in Kirchner's fierce vibrating drawing strokes and splitting brushstrokes, even if the latter still described and represented things through them, which Mack was no longer able to do after starting again at absolute zero.

Common to both artists, moreover, is the "fate" of being referred with beautiful but enervating regularity to their beginnings in their respective groups of artists, indeed of having their works reduced to them, which, for reasons already mentioned at the outset, is sheer nonsense. In both cases, the individual stages of development of the respective overall work build on the preceding ones and lead to ever higher artistic knowledge. We only have to be up to this achievement of genius without prejudice.

We have many to thank, first and foremost the master of light and thus of color Heinz Mack himself for this wonderful exhibition. Then his wife Ute Mack for the excellent and dedicated curatorial care and organization of the exhibition and the catalog, Beat Wismer for his excellent text, the daughter Valeria Mack for her assistance, the colleague Alexander Baumgarte, Galerie Samuelis Baumgarte Bielefeld, for the idea and the mediation of this exhibition, the colleagues Beck & Eggeling, who look after the early work of Heinz Mack, for their goodwill, the graphic designer Dominik Lanhenke for the design of the catalog, the printing company Oeding print, Braunschweig, for its printing, in our gallery Angela Mattioli (registrar, exhibition organization and transport), Hans Brubacher (exhibition technology and transport) and Nicolas Bischoff (photography and exhibition technology).

We hope that this exhibition will be seen by many visitors in spite of our, as we surprisingly had to realize again and again, (even for Swiss) "remote" location, which is, however, quite easily accessible and whose abundance of light is very congenial to Mack's work.

Sixty years of development of an artistic path from the absolute zero point of physical and psychological destruction from the (at that time) all-covering black of the coal mining Ruhr area up to the sun, to the light and its children, the colors, are visualized in this exhibition.

Wichtrach near Bern on January 1, 2019

Ingeborg Henze-Ketterer and Wolfgang Henze


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Heinz Mack

Online catalogue