Otto Piene – More Sky

Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie & Neue Nationalgalerie & Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle

Working with or for older artists it is always a bit of a twitchy business. It is not every time like it went with Thomas Bayrle (read more of this here) which was quite an unusual experience. But when we learned that we were working for the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle with Otto Piene, the great ‘Zero’ group artist it got us extremely jumpy. Not only were we great admirers of his work, let alone thinking of his influence on so many young artist, but we knew he had his very own style developed, even for the graphic language. So there we were, working for two heavy weight institutions in the art world asking us to come up with an identity for this unbelievable event on the roof top of the Neue Nationalgalerie, the ‘Sky Art’ event (which was a novelty - no one was even allowed up there) and two different exhibitions carrying the same title ‘More Sky’. One of the exhibitions was focusing on the evolution of Otto Piene (at the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle) and a show at the Neue Nationalgalerie exhibiting an enormous space filling installation. So, how on earth would you be able to communicate all this on one piece of paper. You’re not able to do this, we decided. Our proposal was to split the two exhibitions by choosing different imagery, compositions, and colours but only if stuck next to each other would complete the picture. To cut the long story short - Otto Piene loved the concept and we went into production. Even after the email invitations were sent out, Olafur Eliasson was replying to it saying what a great invite this was. Oh that made us proud beyond the imaginable. There were little details you could see by browsing through the imagery below, like the little holes on the printed invites were laser cut, so the paper would have burn marks on the edges of the tiny holes, a reference to Otto Piene’s paintings with fire. Well, things like this do make a difference we believe. However, the big day of the ‘Sky Art’ event was nearing, and a day before it would take of, we were deeply saddened by the news that Otto Piene passed on. We couldn’t believe what we heard in the news on the radio that morning. Could this be true? It must have been too exciting for him, standing on the roof top of the Neue Nationalgalerie, being the first one, living his very special dream. We can hereby assure you, dear Mr. Piene, your installation was very well received by the large audience gathering to see the spectacle at 0100hrs in the morning. You can be proud of yourself Otto, you’ll be dearly missed.