Otto Piene & Light Ballet
Otto Piene was an artist whose light-based sculpture work occupied the intersection of light, technology, art, movement, and environment.
First produced using hand-operated lamps directed through perforated stencils, Piene’s “Lichtballett” (light ballet) performances of moving light became mechanized in the 1960s.
The artist’s early light sculptures consisted of revolving lamps, grids, globes, and discs operated by electric switchboards, causing what he described as “the steady flow of unfurling and dimming, reappearing, and vanishing light.”
Who is Otto?
Otto Piene (pronounced PEE-nah, 18 April 1928 – 17 July 2014) was a German-American artist specializing in kinetic and technology-based art, often working collaboratively. He lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Groton, Massachusetts.
Piene also experimented with multimedia combinations. In 1963, together with Günther Uecker and Heinz Mack, he became a spokesman of Neuen Idealismus (“the new idealism”). In 1967 Otto Piene premiered Proliferation of the Sun at Aldo Tambellini’s Black Gate Theater, and in 1968 he collaborated with Aldo Tambellini on the Black Air at the Black Gate Theater.
The Proliferation of the Sun 1966-1967 (35 minute performance hand painted glass slides, sound, and five carousel projectors)