German sculptor, op artist, and installation artist Günther Uecker (born 1930) started his artistic studies back in 1949 when he took up studies at Wismar. He continued his journey to the art school in Berlin-Weißensee and then in 1955 to Düsseldorf, where he studied under Otto Pankok.
In 1956 Günther began to use nails to create his signature, very raw and powerful sculpture works and installations. After picking up an interest in Eastern philosophies, Uecker began to use nails on canvas to create a meditative ritual where the repetitive nature of hammering transforms his theories into a lived artistic practice. First drawn to the Socialist Realism style of painting while studying in postwar Berlin, Uecker began creating reliefs in 1957. Then in 1959 artist met John Cage who influenced the scope of Uecker’s practice. In the artist’s later works, he merely initiated a project and allowed it to be taken where it needed to go — wherever that may be, even if it eventually out of his hands. In 1961, after joining the ZERO group alongside Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, Uecker expanded his practice to include audience participation.
Uecker’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, among others. The 90year old artist currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.