Günther Uecker



Born 13 March in Wendorf (Mecklenburg). Father a farmer. Grown up on the Wüstrow peninsula in the former GDR he starts an apprenticeship in 1949 and qualifies as a painter and advertising designer.


Studies at the Fachschule für angewandte Kunst in Wismar. Helps to organise political marches, designs window displays and a 20 metres high banner with a portrait of Stalin and enlargements of Picasso’s Dove of Peace. Later studies at the Kunstakademie Berlin-Weißensee.


Participates in the World Youth Games in East Berlin. Finds himself confused and gripped by an encounter with the abstract world of Kandinsky in an exhibition in West Berlin.


Moves to West Berlin and becomes one of the first ‘squatters’ in a room in the former Reichssozialgericht behind the later erected Neue Nationalgalerie in the Potsdamer Straße.


Studies at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf with Otto Pankok, drawn by the latter’s socially-aware thinking and anti-fascist views. After making figurative and abstract woodcuts turns to manual structures (Fingermalereien and Dreckbild).
First nail object (1955/56).


Meets Yves Klein, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. First nail pictures.


Participates in the evening exhibition Das rote Bild organised by Mack and Piene in their studios in Gladbacher Straße 69. This leads to the Group ZERO which Uecker joins in 1961.


Pfeilbilder: demonstration of arrow pictures at the Festival d’art d’avantgarde in Paris. Participates in konkrete kunst in the Helmhaus, Zurich.


Malerische Handlung Weiße Zone as part of the exhibition ZERO – Edition, Exposition, Demonstration in Düsseldorf: Uecker paints the Hunsrückenstraße in front of the Galerie Schmela white. Participates in Bewogen Beweging in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and in Nove Tendencije in Zagreb.


Salon de lumière with Mack and Piene as part of the exhibition Heinz Mack, Otto Piene et Günther Uecker – Dynamo in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
ZERO demonstration by the Rhine in Düsseldorf. First ‘nailings’ of everyday objects.
Participates in nul in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.


Lichtsalon with Mack and Piene in the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld.
‘Nailings’ of furniture. First prize for ZERO and gruppo n at the 4th Biennial in San Marino.


Uecker nails a piano in the Pianohaus Kohl in Gelsenkirchen. Participates in the ZERO presentation Lichtraum at documenta III in Kassel.


Creates his revolving sacks of nails (New York Dancers). Hommage à Malewitsch and the object Verlorene Erinnerung. First sand spirals. The action Weißer Wald in Bern. ZERO exhibition with Mack and Piene in the Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover.
Participates in The Retrospective Eye in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Award at the 4th Biennale des Jeunes in Paris.


Studio in New York. Zero Garden N.Y. at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York. Elektrischer Nagel, Sandmühle und Messerskulptur at the Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf. Blitzaggregat, Kunsthalle in Bern. Lichtregen as part of the exhibition Licht – Kunst – Licht in the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and at documenta IV in Kassel (1968).


The action Flämische Landschaft with Jef Verheyen in Mullem, Belgium.


Demonstration with Gerhard Richter: Leben im Museum – Museen können bewohnbare Orte sein, performance Terrororchester und Schreitanz – both as part of the exhibition 14 x 14 – Young German artists in the Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden.
Street barricade in Düsseldorf. Participates in documenta 4 in Kassel. Publishes Issue 0 of the Uecker Zeitung which appears twelve times giving information and news on Uecker’s activities.


The action Walk on Snow at the first Earth Art Symposium, Cornell University in Ithaca, USA. Participates in the exhibition Art by Telephone, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.


Shoots burning arrows into the sea.
Participates in the German Pavilion at the 35th Venice Biennale (along with Lenk, Mack and Pfahler).


The German contribution to the Venice Biennale presented in the Sacheta in Warsaw as the first exhibition of contemporary German art in Poland. Günther Uecker – Bildobjekte 1957–1970, Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Participates in the São Paulo Biennial, critics’ prize.


Schwarzraum – Weißraum as part of the exhibition Szene Rhein-Ruhr 72 in the Museum Folkwang Essen (video film). Participates in the exhibition Amsterdam Paris Düsseldorf in the Guggenheim Museum, New York.


Five-month trip through Africa.


Appointed professor at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Manuelle Reihungen for the exhibition Strukturen in the Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz. Travels to Asia.


The action Schwarzraum – Weißraum in the Museum Folkwang, Essen. Günther Uecker – Zeichnungen, Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf.
Uecker als Bühnenbildner – Ideen, Skizzen, Modelle, Figurinen, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf. Das Schweigen der Schrift, Erker Galerie, St. Gallen.


Günther Uecker and Klaus Rinke, as newly appointed professors, ride into the Kunstakademie on camels. Stage set and figurines for Wagner’s Parsifal with Götz Friedrich in the Staatstheater Stuttgart. Günther Uecker – das zeichnerische Frühwerk, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.


Wall relief for the United Nations in Geneva. Participates in the documenta VI, Kassel. Projects in the Libyan Desert..


Zum Schweigen der Schrift oder die Sprachlosigkeit at the Galerie Reckermann, Cologne.


Designs for Wagner’s Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival with Götz Friedrich.
Participates in the Sydney Biennial.


Creates the boat sculpture Chichicastenango for the exhibition Zeichen des Glaubens – Geist der Avantgarde in Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin.


Verletzte Felder. Feuerstätte Schwarz for the exhibition Schwarz in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Terrororchester und Schlagende Tür, Basel. Trip to the Sahara: water colours and collages: Wüstenfunde.


Schleifender Stein: stone dragged in an action at the Nationalgalerie Berlin.


Uecker – Bibliophile Werke, Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf and Galerie der Stadt Esslingen (1984).
Awarded the Kaiserring of the city of Goslar. Installation Die Gefährdung des Menschen durch den Menschen in the Mönchehaus-Museum, Goslar.


Travels through the Navaho reservations in Arizona and researches into the history of the American Indians: Black Mesa, knife sculptures. Travels on the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China: Journey to Japan: creates his tree sculptures. Exhibition at the gallery Kamakura, Tokyo. First Nagelwald in the exhibition Kunstpranger in Wuppertal.


Participates in the exhibitions: Kunst in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland at the Nationalgalerie Berlin, in German Art in the 20th Century in the Royal Academy of Arts, London and at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, as well as in German Art 1945–1985 in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.


Creates Aschebilder and the space sculpture Aufwischen in response to the nuclear catastrophe in Tschernobyl. Participates in Positionen – Malerei aus der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Altes Museum Berlin-Ost and Albertinum, Dresden.


Exhibition in the Vasarely Múzeum in Pécs, Hungary. Retrospective exhibition in the Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen.


Visits Seoul, South Korea. Cycle of drawings: Tusche fließend-Han-Seoul.
Constructs a knife sculpture in the Olympic Park in Seoul. Series of pictures: Kann Fruchtbarkeit auf Asche gründen for the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz (exhibition 1989).
Most comprehensive Uecker retrospective so far in the Central Artists’ House on the Crimean Wall in Moscow with 820 works. Order of Merit of Land North Rhine-Westphalia.


Series of pictures: Architektonische Landschaften. Film portrait of Uecker Wie ein Bauer auf dem Feld by Michael Kluth. Exhibition in the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz.


Participates in the exhibition Ausgebürgert. Künstler aus der DDR und aus dem Sowjetischen Sektor Berlins 1949–1989 in the Albertinum, Dresden.


Aschebilder at the gallery ULUV, Prague. Participates in Zone D – Innenraum at the Leipziger Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, the first joint exhibition of West and East German artists.


Weiße Strukturbilder, Malerische Handlungen. in the Sacheta in Warsaw.
Exhibition in Schwerin to mark the Day of German Unity. Exhibition Uecker, Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna.


Travels to Cambodia, studies the culture of the Khmer. Completion of the portrait of his work Der geschundene Mensch (14 ‘pacified tools’ and 120 verbal expressions of aggression): touring exhibition of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Retrospective in the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich.


The exhibition Brief an Peking, organised by the Hanmo Art Centre and the Goethe-Institut, Beijing, was cancelled before the opening and was shown in 1995 in Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin.


Travels to Japan. Schwebend schweben, Kitakanto Museum of Fine Arts, Gunma. Highest award of the 21st International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana.


Chilean Critics‘ Choice Award for the best foreign exhibition in 1996.


Anschlag – Zum Schweigen der Schrift, Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach.
Travels to Mexico and Hot Springs, South Dakota, USA.


Travels to Czechia. Artistic design for the oratory of the Reichstag building, Berlin. Medal of Masovia, Warzaw for services rendered to the cultural cooperation between Germany and Poland.


Sculpture Verletzungen – Verbindungen in Hanoi. Leviathan, Goethe-Institut, Thessaloniki. Wort – Schrift – Zeichen, Erker Galerie, St. Gallen. Participates in the exhibition ZERO aus Deutschland 1957-1966 at the Galerie der Stadt Esslingen, Esslingen. Die Bilderwelt des Günther Uecker by Micael Kluth. First Prize in the competition ‚sculpture park’ Kamp-Lintfort.


Travels to Japan. Cycle of works Barbarei und Hoffnung I bis X as part of the exhibition Zwischen Barbarei und Hoffnung – Positionen zum zwanzigsten Jahrhundert, Goethe-Institut Rotterdam. Verletzungen – Verbindungen, Günther Uecker zum 70. Geburtstag, Schloss Rheinsbeg, Rheinsbeg. Admitted into the order Pour le Mérite for science and arts.


Creates a piece of speaking, a piece of writing Sich stellen, Theaterplatz, Weimar. Zeichen und Schriften, in the German Bundestag, Paul-Löbe-Haus, Berlin (2002). Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Participates in the Petersburg Dialogue in Petersburg and Weimar. Creates the Memorial Fall for the exhibition Kulturverlust, Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar.
Participates in the exhibition Wasser Sand Weite in Sharjah Art Museum, UE.
Günther Uecker – Neue Arbeiten, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Berlin. Günther Uecker – Dialog, Museum Moderne Kunst, Passau.


Sculptures for Friedrich Schillers’ Wilhelm Tell in an open-air performance (2004) of the Deutsches Nationaltheater. Günther Uecker – Graphien, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg. Participates in the exhibitions Berlin/Moskau, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, M_ARS – Kunst und Krieg, Neue Galerie, Graz, The Spirit of White at the Galerie Beyeler, Basel and ZERO.


Participates in the exhibitions: ZERO 1958-1968. Germania e Italia in the Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena; Declaration – 100 Artists of Peace in the National Museum of ContArt in Seoul; Monocromos de Malevich al presente in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.


Solo exhibitions: Zwanzig Kapitel, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin; Klangobjekte: Terrororchester, Hommage à John Cage, Kunsthalle Bremen; Günther Uecker. Old Words, New Expressions in the German Cultural Centre and the National Museum of History, Taipei and in the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Participates in the exhibitions: Formen des Kinetischen, Museum Tinguely, Basel; Crossart. Van Gogh bis Beuys, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, Bonn; Günther Uecker – Poesie der Destruktion, film by Michael Kluth for Arte by order of West German Broadcasting Corporation Cologne.


Günther Uecker – Letter to China, Kunsthalle TAFA in Tianjin, China. Zeichen und Schriften, Friedenstexte aus Bibel und Koran, in Leopold-Hoesch-Museum.
Participates in the exhibitions: Zero, internationale Künstler-Avantgarde der 50er/60er Jahre, Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf and Musée d’Art Moderne in Saint-Etienne.


Solo exhibitions: Brief an Peking, NAMOC National Art Museum of China, Beijing. Participates in exhibitions: Op Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Vertigo, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy; Chronik einer Nicht-Ausstellung 1969-73, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Bronze medal of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Berlin.


Solo exhibitions: Sound of Art. Musik in der Bildenden Kunst, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Post for Ordos, Ordos Art Museum, Inner Mongolia China; Günther Uecker. Brief an Peking. Participates in the exhibitions: The thin shadow line, Fondazione Mudima, Italy; Druckstelle, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Sotto Voce, Gallery Yvon Lambert, New York; ZERO lebt, Kunsthalle Weishaupt, Ulm.


Solo exhibitions: Günther Uecker – Huldigung an die Steppe, Gallery of Modern Art of Mongolia, Ulan Bator; Participates in the exhibitions: 60 Jahre – 60 Werke, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; aus/gezeichnet/zeichnen, Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Essential Experiences, Museo d’arte contemporanea della Sicilia, Palermo, Italy; Art of Two Germanys / Cold War Cultures, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.A.; Kunst und Kalter Krieg – Deutsche Positionen 1945-1989, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin and Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg.


Günther Uecker – Handlungen. Werke aus drei Jahrzehnten, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Ulmer Museum. Günther Uecker – Works 1995-2007, Akira Ikeda Gallery in Taura and Tokyo, Japan. Participates in the exhibitions: Isole mai trovate, Palazzo Ducale in Genua, Italy and Musée d’art moderne in St. Etienne, France; Honoured with the Jan-Willem-Ring of the state capitel Düsseldorf for his contribution to the cultural diversity of the city and its importance for visual arts.


Günther Uecker – The Early Years, L&M Arts, New York; Günther Uecker – Sandspirale, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Geschriebene Bilder, Walter Storms Galerie, Munich. Participates in the exhibitions: 55 Jahre Kunst in Düsseldorf, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; Art on Lake, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.


Enrico Castellani et Günther Uecker, Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna Ca’Pesaro, Venice, Italy. Participates in the exhibitions: End of the Earth: Land Art
to 1974, MoCA, Los Angeles, USA; Aufbruch. Malerei und realer Raum, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Kunsthalle Rostock.


Injuries – Connections. Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (Tmoca), Iran


Injuries – Connections. Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran


Injuries – Connections. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba


Uecker – Museum’s art collection Nordrhein-Westfalen in K20 Dusseldorf-Germany


Kunsthalle Rostock. Rostock, Germany


Günther Uecker lives and works in Düsseldorf.