Otto Piene was born in Laasphe in the German region of Westphalia in 1928. He grew up in Lübbecke. After his military service and war captivity, aged twenty, he began to study at the "Blocherer Schule" and the Munich art academy . Two years later Otto Piene transfered to the Düsseldorf art academy, where he remained until 1953. Subsequently Piene spent four years studying philosophy at the university of Cologne. From the mid fifties Piene began studying the element of light in art.
From 1955 Piene presented his work in group exhibitions, in 1959 a solo exhibition at the Schmela gallery in Düsseldorf followed. In 1957 Otto Piene and Heinz Mack founded the group "ZERO", which was also joined by Günther Uecker. Until 1961 the three artists also published a journal under the same name. From 1961 to 1966 the group held numerous "ZERO" exhibitions. In 1964 they presented a "ZERO-Lichtraum", a joint project of the three artists, at "documenta 3".
The same year Otto Piene accepted a four year teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he moved on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge, USA, where he has worked as a professor for environmental art since 1972.
From 1974 to 1993 Otto Piene was director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS).
In 1967 a first retrospective of Piene's works was shown at the Dortmund "Museum am Ostwall". Ten years later "documenta" once more offered Otto Piene the opportunity to present his objects.
In 1990 the artist became a member of the advisory board of the "Zentrum für Kunst und Medien" in Karlsruhe. Since 1994 Otto Piene has been director emeritus at the CAVS.
Otto Piene lives and works in Düsseldorf, Cambridge and Groton, Massachusetts. Otto Piene is famous for his light-kinetic works, especially the light ballet, in which the artist tries to find a link between nature and technology. His intense study of light, movement and space is also reflected in his air and light sculptures, sky events and his technically completely different grid and fire pictures, which Otto Piene has been experimenting with since the sixties.
Otto Piene died on July 17, 2014.
Related artists: Camargo, Sérgio de | Castellani, Enrico | Fontana, Lucio | Geiger, Rupprecht | Girke, Raimund | Graubner, Gotthard | Luther, Adolf | Mack, Heinz | Manzoni, Piero | Uecker, Günther | Zangs, Herbert