Witness to Phenomenon: Group Zero and the Development of New Media in Postwar European Art

Author, Researcher, or Creator

Joseph D. Ketner, II, Emerson College


Visual and Media Arts


Joseph D. Ketner, II

Resource Type


Publication, Publisher or Distributor

Bloomsbury Academic and Professional

Publication Date


Related Information

Reviews from Amazon.com “Ketner's deep dive into previously unmined archival material allows him to convey the nuances of Group ZERO's formation as well as its many ties to international "new tendency+? artists. His impressive research adds considerably to recent exhibitions and publications on ZERO by firmly situating the work of Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Gunther Uecker in relation to lively debates about art's social and political relevance in postwar Europe.”--Gregory H. Williams, Associate Professor, History of Art & Architecture, Boston University, USA “A key development in postwar European art, the German Group ZERO - and the work of its core members Piene, Mack, and Uecker - is only recently garnering the necessary English-language attention. In Witness to Phenomenon, Joseph Ketner, a longtime champion of these artists on this side of the Atlantic, chronicles a complex web of exhibitions, performances, and multi-media installations, as well as the notable contemporary critical response, introducing new audiences to ZERO and their international network of collaborators.”--Lynette Roth, Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Head, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, USA

Brief Description

Drawing from a decade of research and examining unpublished archives, Ketner offers a fresh analysis on the German Group Zero- group of artists who changed the idea of art by rejecting painting and introducing new art media in postwar Europe. Evolving into a vast network across Europe, these innovative artists would make statements through the 1960s, as they incorporated non-traditional materials and new technologies creating works such as light installations to communication media of video and television. This book shows how these artists transformed the inanimate visual arts into a sensory experience through conceptualizing the philosophy of Phenomenology. Ketner’s work shows how Group Zero serves as a catalyst in the transition from modern to contemporary art.

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