Otto Piene: Lichtballett

2011, MIT List Visual Arts Center
Book cover for Otto Piene: Lichtballett featuring a black background and vertical title written in letters made of white circles.
2011, MIT List Visual Arts Center

ISBN 9780938437789 96 pages, b/w, features a die-cut cover

A leading figure in multimedia and technology-based art, Otto Piene was a founder, with Heinz Mack, of the influential Düsseldorf-based Group Zero in the late 1950s. This publication highlights the artist’s ongoing exploration of light as an artistic and communicative medium. Piene’s Lichtballett (light ballet) performances, first produced using hand-operated lights directed through perforated stencils, became mechanized in the 1960s. The artist’s light sculptures consisted of motorized lamps, grids, and discs producing a flow of projected light; these machines evolved into kinetic sculptural environments of mechanized effects through the 1960s and ’70s. Featuring Piene’s own writings on light as an artistic medium, an essay by art historian Michelle Y. Kuo, and an interview with curator João Ribas, Otto Piene: Lichtballett documents the artist’s pioneering investigation of art and technology.