Artistic Dialogues: Günther Uecker and Lothar Wolleh

We are very excited to announce a special collaboration in the context of our 2023 research year. In Volume 2 of the Notizen zu Uecker series, entitled “Günther Uecker’s ‘Artistic Actions’: An Intercultural Investigation,” photographic works by Lothar Wolleh—accompanied by an essay on the Uecker-Wolleh connection by Antoon Melissen—will be brought into a dialogue with an intercultural investigation of Uecker’s oeuvre by the art scholar Xiao Xiao. Nearly 70 years have passed since Uecker, then a student at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, brought artistic actions into his work as a painter. He did so—in the form of his nail pictures, finger paintings, dirt pictures, and structural pictures—in such a significant way that separating these works from artistic action, from the processes of fixation on picture supports and in installation approaches, even from the very performative flux in the viewing of the works themselves, was rendered impossible. Together with the photographer Lothar Wolleh, who had begun to systematically portray and accompany artists from the Rhineland in 1962/63, Uecker found possibilities arise in collaborative works that rethought the ephemeral aspects of his oeuvre, up to and including the very nature of their medium. In addition to jointly created artist’s books, films of Uecker’s actions and photographic series by Wolleh of ephemeral works by Uecker emerged from their fruitful collaboration, which would eventually encompass the geographical movements of the artists from the Rhineland to Brazil, from Düsseldorf to the equatorial zone.

“Günther Uecker’s ‘Artistic Actions’” will be published by Deutscher Kunstverlag in the autumn of 2023.