Günther Uecker

Beginning in the 1950s, an extensive and complex group of works emerges, which in itself displays an enormous development: Günther Uecker’s iconic nail objects prove how intensively he deals with the rigid material and how virtuously he knows how to treat it.

The “Feld” from 1987 is very assertive. Here the artist uses raw, unworked nails that seem to have been randomly and impulsively hewn into the board. The dark nature of the nails interacts with the wild paintwork of the background, which is further enhanced by casts of light and shadow in the compositional structure. The nail, commonly used in everyday life to hold things in place, is set in motion under Uecker’s influence. Detached from the monochrome discipline of the earlier work, each nail stands now on its own — impetuous and untamed — and accelerates the rest of the picture.

Dieter Honisch writes of Uecker’s oeuvre’s development very poignantly: “Uecker does not show the development phases of one of his works, but rather the psychological, contradictory and also endangering feelings that an artist has to fight out within himself in order to produce a work that is ultimately distinct. (…) He lays out the motifs of his work in an almost psychoanalytical way: affection,
destruction, aggression and appeasement, thereby releasing the very heterogeneous forces that inf luence a creative process.” (Honisch, Dieter: Uecker. Stuttgart 1983, p. 156.)

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