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ZERO and Nul

In 1958, on a true turning point in the history of art, Otto Piene and Heinz Mack founded the ZERO Group. In 1962, together with those two artists, Günther Uecker installed a "light salon" at the exhibition "NUL" in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The three are considered the founders of a new vision which quickly gained international acclaim.

The name ZERO refers to the last digit that is called at the launch of a rocket and thus refers to a new beginning, a new era. The ZERO wants to break with the traditional art forms and preparation for delivering a totally new art by expanding and innovating. In practice, this was expressed in the use of new materials, developing repetitive oeuvres and organizing events, often outside the traditional museum walls and gallery spaces. The monochrome, motion and vibration, light and reflections, fire and smoke and the use of everyday materials were central elements.

The group got very fast international succession and maintained numerous contacts, among others with the Italian Lucio Fontana, the French Bernard Aubertin and Yves Klein and the Swiss Jean Tinguely. Zero in the Netherlands was represented by members of the Dutch Nul movement, including Jan Schoonhoven, Henk Peeters, Herman de Vries, Armando and Jan Henderikse. In Belgium Jeff Verheyen, Walter Leblanc and Paul Van Hoeydonck had important links with ZERO.

After a very intensive course with revolutionary impact on the art world, the ZERO group fell apart in 1966. Afterwards many artists went their separate ways, but for most of them, the ZERO ideas remaind in their oeuvre. From October 8, 2014 until January 7, 2015, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York makes a tribute to the group with a huge exhibition. In 2015, such exhibitions are also set in Berlin and Amsterdam.

The six artists from the exhibition COLOR BLACK WHITE LIGHT are currently on display at the Guggenheim Museum. Jan Henderikse comes directly from New York to the opening in Eeklo. At opening night, a fire event of Bernard Aubertin takes place.


Otto Piene: firegouaches and graphical works

Heinz Mack: pastelchalk on paper, sculptures and graphical works

Günther Uecker: sculptures and reliefprints

Bernard Aubertin: acryl on canvas and mixed media

Jan Henderikse: mixed media

Paul Van Hoeydonck: assemblages, reliefs and ink drawings