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I tell my story with pictures, objects and things that I make.


Material Becomes Picture Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 3 December 14, 2012—March 17, 201

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The artist, G端nther Uecker, is often inspired to create a picture, an object or an installation after something important happens in the world. Sometimes he has been affected personally. This guide is to be used in the exhibition. It gives information on what Uecker was thinking about when making the works of art on display. The questions are a place to get started, to notice details you might not have seen at first glance.

works of art Walk over to his er look. and take a clos

Getting the Lay of the Land The title of the exhibition, Uecker. Material Becomes Picture emphasizes Uecker’s conscious choice of what he used when making his pieces. Walk around the exhibition and find the eight pieces in which Uecker used nails. Good Titles Before looking at the title of a piece, have a go at coming up with a good one. What is Uecker trying to show us in each of these works? Make Groups These nine works of art can be divided into groups. There aren’t “right” or “wrong” ways to do this.

t works? oup these nine ar How would you gr of art in it. e or more works on ve ha n ca p ou A gr name each group? What would you ks on display. her thirteen wor ot e th at ok lo ow N oups you you add to the gr ld ou w em th of Which e? have already mad

Why Nails? Uecker’s use of nails originates from an experience he had when growing up. During World War II, to make his home safe, his family had to nail boards over the windows. He was asked to help with this important task. Many people are curious about why he has used nails over and over again in so many of his works. Uecker says that in some cases the nails

of are an extension

his fingers

sional surface to allow a two-dimen ct dimensional obje become a threehim to get really provide a way for since it takes physically involved pound in the nails a lot of energy to others what allow him to tell mething he thinks about so

Two Dimensions Become Three Uecker made a series of pictures of nails pounded into boards or canvas. In some he also used paint, in others just plain nails. Each one is a bit different from the next and each has its own name. This one’s called Circle Circles. What did you name it?

w he pounded Look closely at ho le Circles. in the nails in Circ you see? What patterns do ns? to see the patter Where is it easier ? ay from further aw From up close or erences*. Now look at Interf works different? How are the two one r show circles in How does Uecke s in the other? and interference

*An interference can be when someone – tries to solve a dispute between other people – interrupts someone when speaking – can’t hear a radio station clearly as one wave got mixed up with another one

What a Tea Party! When Uecker made these and other similar pieces (imagine, he even pounded nails into a television set) he was letting us know that he thinks people have been buying too much stuff.


What do you thin

e stuff that Have you got som ed? you don’t really ne keep ten of your If you could only ? would you choose toys, which ones s” you can What kinds of “gift e not objects? give people that ar ld you like to get? Which one(s) wou

Why Ash? Uecker made these two pictures a few months after a power plant exploded in Chernobyl, a city in the Ukraine. Poisonous ash rose into the air engulfing everything nearby. The wind carried it away, even as far as Hungary. The ash caused health problems not only for people and animals, but plants, forests, and rivers suffered as well.

Ash and Glue Become an Image To make both pictures entitled Ash Man Uecker spread glue and ordinary, non poisonous ash on the canvas. Then he lied down and moved around. Have you ever made a snow angel this way?


Take a Closer Lo

ash which How thick is the How can you tell?


surrounds the fig

into the ash pear to be going ap e ur fig e th s Doe ink so? it? Why do you th or coming out of the figure es where you see ur ct pi e th in s ea Find ar the other? oving more than moving. Is one m ? Why might that be have been you think it might do nt sa ea pl un it’s not How ash (remember, is th in lie to t tis ing for the ar t messy when do ge to e lik u yo o preferences. poisonous)? D n your ideas and ai pl Ex ? ts af cr d arts an

Why White? Uecker said that he feels white helps awaken our feelings is delicate conveys a world of silence, without any shouting is a picture of emptiness

ZERO We use a number to write zero, but actually the number itself means “none at all” or “empty.” Could white be a place where you can begin, like from the number zero?

o” ar t be like? What would “zer d be which works coul In this exhibition s. Explain your idea called “zero” ar t?

Step in White Uecker made this picture by placing a bucket of white paint on the floor next to the canvas. He stepped in the paint, then trod onto the canvas and took a few steps. He kept doing this until he had a compete circle.

ts and follow them Find his footprin

. all the way around

White on White Draw or paint with white on white paper. Drawing Experiment with crayons, chalk, or oil pastels. Painting How thick will you make the paint? Will you paint with a paintbrush or something else? (Although Uecker painted with razor blades, try something less sharp or ask an adult for help.)

Why Knives? Wanting to find out more about nature, Uecker travelled all over the world. One place he visited was a Native American reservation in Arizona, in the United States. These works, all named Black Mesa, refer to a mountain in which there is large amount of uranium, a mineral used to produce nuclear power. The U.S. government wanted to mine it. However, this is a sacred place for the Native Americans because they feel that it represents the power of the gods*. If the government takes the uranium away, they rob the Indian community of its spiritual identity. *Many Native Americans are polytheists, believing in many deities and spirits.

Easily Hurt and Needing Protection Uecker uses knives and sometimes nails to show how vulnerable nature and people are. Both can easily be hurt. Being nice to everyone all the time certainly isn’t easy. All the same, when someone is mean to us, we feel really lousy. Maybe the earth, the forests and rivers also hurt when people destroy them and leave their rubbish there.

of two ck in the middle ro e th d an er at w l resources Find the bowl of represent natura ey Th . ns tio la al lp keep of these inst e ways you can he m so st Li . of re we should take ca r! and rivers cleane forests greener

Why Writing? Uecker originally created Black Rain for an exhibition in China. If you look at the labels on your clothes and your toy boxes, you may notice that many were made in China. Most factories they were produced in emit an enormous amount of pollution. By making these pieces Uecker wanted us to think about caring for our natural environment. Ink and Paper He also wanted to share his admiration for China’s rich ancient cultural history. Writing and drawing with ink on paper was practiced by the ancient Chinese. Just Splotches? The splotches that you see on these five long sheets of paper suggest a written message.

ts one message? Are the five shee your ideas. ones? Talk about t en er ff di e fiv r O

Art without End This is the last exhibited work of art in the show. But where is the end of the paper? Can you see it? Being curled up, it is not obvious. Why do you think Uecker purposely decided not to show us the end of the paper? You tell your story with pictures, objects and things that you make. Exhibitions don’t have to end when we leave and go home. We take the memories of what we have seen with us. Maybe you’ve been inspired to create a piece of art about important things that happen to you.

you. ls that appeal to Use any materia and sizes. all sorts of shapes Experiment with

not even if others do lf, se ur yo s es pr stor y. Feel free to ex n tell them your ca u Yo . nd ta rs immediately unde

Works of Art and Archive Photographs (details): On the cover Günther Uecker in his studio. Düsseldorf, [without date] Page 2-3 Günther Uecker holding a giant nail in the street. Baden-Baden, 1968 Page 4-5 Günther Uecker in his studio. Düsseldorf, [without date] Page 6 Circle Circles, 1985. Nails, graphite, and canvas on wood Interferences, 1980. Nails and oil paint on wood Page 7 Malzeit, 1963. Nails and oil paint on wood Bedside Table 1963. Nails and oil paint on wood Page 8 Ash Man, 1986. Ash, glue, graphite on canvas Page 9 Ash Man, 1986. Ash, glue, graphite on canvas Page 10 White, 1992. Plaster, paint, and nails on canvas Page 11 Excerpt from the action Walking in a Circle Action. Galerie Denis René–Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf, 1975 Walking in a Circle, 1974–1975. White latex on canvas Page 12 Black Mesa Hanging Stone, 1985. Various materials, wood, metal, stone, rope Black Mesa Knife Sculpture, 1985. Various materials, textile, paint, wood, metal Page 13 Black Mesa Hanging Lake, 1985. Various materials, wood, metal, textile, rope Page 14 Black Rain, 2006. India ink on paper Page 15 Günther Uecker working in his studio Photography: Baschang & Herrmann, München; Philipp Schönborn, München; Nic Tenwiggenhorn, Düsseldorf Archive Photographs: Uecker Photo-Archive, Düsseldorf Written by Litza Juhasz Design by Dávid Remsey, Ágnes Megyeri Proof-reading: Eszter Szász Published by Dr. László Baán Special thanks to Kinga Bódi, the co-curator of the exhibition

Uecker Gallery Guide KIDS