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Poetical Line Günther Uecker

Artist

Günther Uecker Wendorf, Mecklenburg, 1930 –

Date 1958-1977
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique canvas, nail, wood.
Dimensions

40 × 40 × 9 cm, 4 kg

Inventory number 78.2.U
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is on view at the permanent exhibition

Günther Uecker, an epoch-defining member of the ZERO group, used nails both on his paintings and in his three-dimensional works, a feature that became his signature hallmark. The nails he hammered into his works sometimes create a swirling, relief-like surface, while at other times they follow monotonously repetitive systems of geometric shapes. Uecker, an East German émigré to the West, would often answer questions about his nails by quoting the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky: “poetry is made with a hammer”, underlining the idea that the motif of the nail had layers of political and social meaning. The square surface of the Poetic Series is covered with a raster, with the nails affixed where the lines of the network intersect. The minimalist picture, built up from a repeating rhythm of nails and eschewing any sense of hierarchy, can be “read” as a visual poem, as suggested by the lyrically phrased theoretical texts written by the artist in 1969, which are affixed to the back of the work.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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