Man’s Inhumanity: 14 Pacified Implements

27 April – 16 June 2002

In Man’s Inhumanity: 14 Pacified Implements German artist Günther Uecker presented a personal response to life and suffering.

Born in Mecklenburg, in the eastern German Democratic Republic in 1930, Uecker moved to the west in 1953 to study in Düsseldorf. His experience–spanning some of the most traumatic events in recent history and the social and political values of the East, the West and of unification–informs his practice.

The 14 objects or Gerätschaften (implements) comprising Man’s Inhumanity, resonated with the artist’s own social and political concerns: his opposition to violence, xenophobia and social control. As the artist states, ‘This is my protest, my stance, an expression of my extreme distress – the portrait of an artist in Germany.’

His forms are not premeditated nor planned, evolving instead out of an intuitive process of thinking and acting. A close physical relationship between the artist and his materials is signalled in the scale and construction of the works. Self-consciously non-academic in approach, Uecker’s art nevertheless invites comparison with minimalism, arte povera and constructivism. The works were intended to be intrusive–to confront us and to challenge our attitudes to histories of violence, aggression and intolerance.

Organised by the Institute of Foreign Relations (IfA) Stuttgart with the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes, Wellington.