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Group Zero originated in Dusseldorf, Germany, but quickly became a pan-European force, with mutual ...
Group Zero originated in Dusseldorf, Germany, but quickly became a pan-European force, with mutual exchanges and interacting influences linking an array of artists in Dusseldorf, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. This is best indicated by listing some of the artists whose words are displayed and whose works are illustrated in this book: besides Piene and Mack, they include Fontana, Yves Klein, Mavignier, Jean Tinguely, Arman, Pol Bury, Spoerri, Manzoni, Dorazio, Soto, Manfred Kage, and many others.
The book, designed by its originators, makes an artistic statement on its own terms: individual photographs can be viewed at leisure, but because of its dynamic film-like sequences, a rapid thumb-through converts it into a happening in the kinetic mode. In this edition all the text has been rendered into English in addition to being reproduced in the original German; yet the multilingual aspect of the first publication has been retained: those manifestos and artistic credos written in French or Italian are reprinted in their original language as well.
Zero 1 examines the Red Painting—it is a study in the monochromatic. Zero 2 focuses on vibrations and motion. The last and most elaborate of the volumes, Zero 3, exhibits the full range of Group Zero's concerns: it embraces the total environment, the nature-man-technology triad, and the myriads of artistic possibilities that can be realized through the interactions of elements.
The book offers ample testimony that Group Zero was a happening in contemporary art whose impact was far from ephemeral. As Lawrence Alloway writes in his Foreword: "The Zero group was the first artists' collaboration devoted to topics of light and movement, preceding by two years such collectives as Gruppo T (Milan) and the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel (Paris). A general term for these and other groups was The New Tendency, useful initially as a way of indicating a broad community of interests (protechnology, antisubjective). What should be stressed is that The Zero Group, in their response to widespread aesthetic problems, revealed a sophistication and control that other groups in their strictness often missed. Ten years later, Zero has proved to have withstood the test of time."