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White casting compound on white color veil, on cardboard.

Herbert Zangs – plus minus infinite

Sat, 19.05.2018 – Sun, 02.09.2018
Cost: Museum admission


Through its research project and exhibition on Herbert Zangs (Krefeld, Germany, 1924–2003), the ZKM is once again tracing a path of artistic development that sheds new light on the fundamental questions of the European avant-garde, starting from its edges. The expansion of the arts that marked the culture of the 1960s and started with the »exit from the painting« (Laszlo Glozer) and the essay »The Crisis of the Easel Picture« (Clement Greenberg, 1948) is pivotal in the appraisal of Herbert Zangs and his works of the 1950s, his radical deformations of the easel picture, as a key pioneering achievement. 

Today Herbert Zangs’ art once again – and rightly – stands at the intersection of various fields of interest in contemporary art that are engaged with the question of what a picture can be. Here it is particularly through his »approximations of the picture« and his efforts to treat the picture not as an intentional positing, but rather as the documentation of a process of development with no goal beyond a gradual emptying, a liberation from meanings, that his work appears to be an early contribution to a current discussion. His »Whitenings« of the early 1950s and the so-called »Windscreen Wiper Pictures« that he made later in the same decade established him as an »artist’s artist« from early in his career, as did his use of found materials. 

With the exhibition »Herbert Zangs – plus minus infinite« the ZKM has set its sights on opening up new perspectives on both of the periods when Zangs enriched the developments in European art through his outstanding objects. The exhibition is showing works from the 1950s. Beyond this, Zangs’ performative work from the 1970s is being examined in detail for the first time. 

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ZKM | Karlsruhe
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