Nail Object


Günther Uecker
Wesendorf 1930
Nails on canvas mounted on panel
150 x 150 x 18 cm
Inventory number 3205

Günther Uecker, together with fellow-German artists Heinz Macke and Otto Piene, was one of the driving forces behind the ZERO magazine in the early 1960s. It served as a platform for their artistic and social ideology as well as their stylistic ideas. They believed strongly in a merger of art, nature and technology, a notion that Uecker developed further in his nail objects. Using plain nails and a strikingly simple technique, he created an anonymous kind of art, devoid of any personal style or signature. This Nail Object expresses Uecker's vision of art and society, and his ideas about how art relates to space, to pure beauty, to the immaterial, to absolute truth, to infinity and timelessness. The nails are all identical and were specially made for Uecker. They have been applied into a panel with a basic geometric form. The position of the nails varies slightly from left to right.

Open artwork

This subtle difference in direction creates an optical vibration in the eyes of the viewer as one vis-à-vis the object. This in turn gives it a certain ambivalent, spatially undefined quality: it is an ‘open’ work of art that assumes its form in a constant interaction with the space around it and with the person viewing it. The effect of lighting and the movement of the viewer creates a virtual up-and-down motion.

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