Günther Uecker: Letter to China. Works on paper.
Günther Uecker produced a multifaceted oeuvre. He grew up in Mecklenburg, where he was born in 1930, and became popular as an artist after resettling in West Germany – although he remained a wanderer between two worlds. During the early sixties, he already stood in the front ranks of art renewal as a member of the legendary avant-garde group ZERO. He became famous after shifting from panel painting to the use of nails in art, which was considered a radical step at the time. Although he gained public recognition primarily through the use of nails, his oeuvre was not limited to this trade mark. Many of his works attest to his social and political involvement: among other things, Uecker created a mural relief for the UN building in Geneva, and he took a stand on the Chernobyl disaster with his ash pictures.
He also criticized the disregard for human rights in China. He was therefore not allowed to exhibit his works there for a long time. In the run-up to the Olympic Games, the People’s Republic affected a cosmopolitan air and celebrated his exhibition “Letter to China” 2006/07 at the TAFA Gallery in Tianjin as an important contribution to Sino-German cultural exchange. The Versicherungskammer Bayern hosts this multifaceted and politically important exhibition during its only stop in Germany. Consisting of drawings, prints, relief prints, and overpainted photographs as well as numerous watercolor cycles done during Uecker’s travels to Asia and other continents, the exhibition is a visual dialog that transcends linguistic boundaries, differences in mentality, and ideologies.
“My journey to the East changed my view of the West; it will enable me to break through more barriers in my process of artistic creation . . . and to better express the contrast of these cultures in my pictures.” (Günther Uecker)