• Otto Piene

    Messingwürfel Pirouetten, 2014
    Messing, Edelstahl, Licht und Motor, 210 x 100 x 100 cm.
  • Messingwürfel Pirouetten, 2014
    Messing, Edelstahl, Licht und Motor, 210 x 100 x 100 cm.
  • Ohne Titel, 2014
    Platin und Glasur auf Ton, 54 x 58 x 55 cm.
  • Rasterleinwand o.T. (gelber Auszug)
    1957-58, Öl auf Leinwand, 30,4 x 69 cm
  • Zur Geschichte des Lichts
    1959, Öl auf Leinwand, 77 x 98 cm
  • Ohne Titel, 1970er Jahre
    Feuer, Rauch, Öl auf Karton, 144 x 95 cm
  • Zitronengelb
    Glasur auf Ton, 91 x 72 x 3 cm
  • For Chloé, 1974
    Feuer, Rauch, Öl auf Karton, 100 x 80 cm
  • Unfold
    2000/03, Feuer, Rauch, Öl auf Leinwand, 128 x 128 cm
  • Knospe
    2010, Glasur auf Ton, 84 x 84 x 5 cm
  • Ohne Titel - Gelb
    70er Jahre, Öl, Feuer und Rauch auf Karton, 96,5 x 146 cm
  • Marseillaise
    1994, Tempera-Gouache, 104,5 x 75 cm
    2012, Glasur auf Ton, 190 × 190 × 10 cm
  • Ohne Titel - Rot
    70er Jahre, Öl, Feuer, Rauch und Siebdruck auf Karton, 146 x 96,5 cm
  • Mit Pastillen
    2009/12, Lüster und Glasur auf Ton
  • Waves
    1975, Feuer, Rauch und Öl auf Leinwand, 122 x 122 cm


Otto Piene was born in 1928 in Laasphe, Westphalia, and grew up in Lübbecke. After military service and imprisonment, Piene begins his studies at the Blocher School and the Art Academy in Munich at the age of 20. Two years later he transfers to the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he is enrolled until 1953. This is followed by four years of philosophy studies at the University of Cologne. From the mid-fifties, Piene began to deal artistically with the element of light. He presented his works in group exhibitions from 1955, and in 1959 in a solo exhibition organized by the Schmela Gallery in Düsseldorf. In 1957 Piene founded the group "ZERO" together with Heinz Mack, which was later joined by Günther Uecker.

With the two other artists, Piene also publishes the magazine of the same name until 1961. Between 1961 and 1966 the group organized numerous ZERO exhibitions. In 1964, for example, it is represented at documenta 3 with a "ZERO Light Room" as a joint work by the three artists. That year, Piene took on a teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, which he held for four years. He then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge/USA, where he held a professorship for environmental art from 1972 and was director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) from 1974 to 1993. As early as 1967, a first retrospective of Piene's works was held at the Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund; ten years later, the documenta again offered him a platform for presenting his objects. In 1990 the artist became a member of the advisory board of the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe.

Since 1994 he has been director emeritus at the CAVS. Otto Piene lives and works in Düsseldorf, Cambridge and Groton, Massachusetts. Otto Piene is known for his light-kinetic works, especially the light ballet, in which the artist seeks to establish a connection between nature and technology. Likewise, the consistent exploration of the themes of light, movement and space is evident in his technically completely different raster and fire paintings, with which Piene has been experimenting since the 1960s, and furthermore in his aerial and light sculptures and in the Sky Events he stages. Otto Piene dies on 17.07.2014 in Berlin.

Utopias have primarily literary value. Utopias that have a real basis are not utopias. My utopias have a solid foundation: light and smoke and 12 headlights.

Otto Piene, 2010er Jahre ©Quote, Otto Piene in ZERO, 1958/61. 1973 edition, p. 147.


Museum and single exhibitions (selection)


The third dimension in the picture, group exhibition, all year round,Works by artists of OP art and kinetic art such as Yaacov Agam, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Francois Morellet, Jesus Rafael Soto, Victor Vasarely, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker meet the holography pioneers newly integrated into the Würth Collection for the first time, Kunsthalle Würth

"Otto Piene. Wege zum Paradies", Museum Tinguely, Basel


Otto Piene: Processing the Page, Computer Vision and Sketchbooks, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, United States


"Otto Piene. Werke aus der Sammlung Kemp", Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

"Otto Piene. Alchemist und Himmelsstürmer", Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen


"Otto Piene. Split: Spiegel, Licht & Reflexion, SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen


"Otto Piene. Licht", LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster

"Otto Piene. Rainbow", Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Teheran


"Otto Piene. More Sky", Neue Nationalgalerie/Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Berlin


"Otto Piene. Graphitzeichnungen", Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf