Heinz Mack, Untitled (Dynamic Structure), 1959

Heinz Mack, Untitled (Dynamic Structure), 1959. Drawing on paper, 23.8 × 31.7 cm. Private collection




Groundworks symbol

The New Dynamic Structure  

Heinz Mack



Echoing the “Groundworks” timeline: 1958

“… By pictorial space I understand the continuous integration of a number of individual spaces. The differentiated pictorial spaces become proportional to one another, producing a certain order. Above all, the new structural order of pictorial space will be determined by the space value of color and its frequency. The clarity of relations of pictorial space is determined by the eye alone. The ability of the eye to achieve this is an extraordinary quality. Consequently every mathematical-statistical configuration becomes unnecessary. In turn, only through the structuring of color space is vibration of color possible at all. Movement will not only be realized on the surface of the painting but will also leap out at the observer unexpectedly. Depth of image becomes irrelevant. Representational-physical pictorial space should be done away With, even when it appears abstract. Likewise, atmospheric pictorial space is a kind of naturalism.

Painting, as a dynamic structure that is entirely self-sufficient, points to a new vitality of painterly nuance. But this becomes true only when the painting discovers its concrete implications. Color can only be dematerialized and its purity brought to light in a strictly painterly discipline. Restraint, however, means plenitude. Infinitude of possibility is a beautiful thing for the artist if it does not lead to aporia. Such aimlessness must be conquered in order not to be destroyed by it. The neo-expressionist method was just such an aporia, a negative freedom. Following this, lyricism seemed like a refuge.

The exclusiveness of a completely nonrepresentational, dynamic pictorial structure, light years apart from nature, will be redeemed in a pure emotion. It will unveil a new reality, whose secret beauty we now only suspect.”


Heinz Mack — “The New Dynamic Structure”,

in ZERO, No. 1 (1958), Düsseldorf; reprinted in ZERO 1-3,

(Cologne: Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, 1973), 14.

Read the complete text here.


Heinz Mack developed by the mid-1950s his first “Dynamischen Strukturen” [dynamic structures] in various media. In 1957 he founded the ZERO group with Otto Piene. He became well known for his contributions to op art, light art and kinetic art.


“maat Explorations” is an ongoing programme that delves into the socio-cultural and environmental transformations stemming from the current bio crisis and ecological destruction. It provides an insight into the hard science of climate intervention and the creative speculations behind innovation-led research to safeguard our planetary co-existence.  

Prominent in this strand is the installation Earth Bits – Sensing the Planetary, that opens access to the complex interconnectedness between the environmental and the energetic quests and its reverberation through decades of artistic production, political and cultural movements traced from the 1960s until today.  

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