ZERO—in post-war European art this means the countdown to a new sense of being close to life, enthusiastic about technology and delighting in experimentation. All the artists in the international Zero movement developed individual work concepts and production strategies. But they all had the same basic ideas: monochromy and seriality, light and movement, developing works for rooms, urban squares and cities and establishing a new sense of unity for nature, man and technology.
NEW ZERO—the title of this Exhibition indicates that contemporary artists relate to the Zero avant-garde in a number of ways, that they find prior formulations hereof material definitions, views of works and an undogmatic, non-hierarchical view by art itself that still offers material for debate and ideas for positioning today. By choosing Sylvie Fleury, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Simone Westerwinter and Heimo Zobernig—besides historical artists as Dadamaino, Jan Henderikse, Henk Peeters, Martial Raysse, Jesús Rafael Soto, Jean Tinguely and Jef Verheyen —we have concentrated on artists from the generation around 1960, who argue mainly in the context of pictures in our selection.
The special exhibition Piero Manzoni—John Nixon. Works from Herning/Denmark is a pars pro toto representation of the intensity of these dialogues. John Nixon is an Australian concept artist. He chose about 20 works by the ‘achromatic’ Manzoni to which he responds—arguing individually—with monochrome orange works from his “Experimental Painting Workshop (EPW).” His credo, which also applies to the NEW ZERO exhibition as a whole, is as follows: “Radical Modernism is a project that cannot be brought to a conclusion that represents the demand for experiment and the history of this experiment. My interest is not so much to return to history as to develop this history. I see my work as a continuation of the radical Modern project.”