Blain|Southern is pleased to announce Less is More by Herbert Zangs (1924 - 2003 Krefeld, Germany). The exhibition features a number of signature works by the artist including Folding Reliefs, Mathematical Signs Collages (PlusMinus) and a group of his celebrated monochromatic Whitenings; all of which demonstrate the artists commitment to an improvised, informal artistic process.
A student of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied under Otto Pankok and was friends with fellow student Joseph Beuys, his artistic career began in 50s Germany, where the impact of the war and the effects of austerity found artists in various fields engaged in finding new ways of expression. Renowned for his uncompromising nature, he never formally associated himself with any artistic movement however, his use of monochrome and serial structures could be seen as a precursor to the Zero movement, which emphasised art that was purely about the material and not the artist’s hand.
Another key aspect of his practice was the incorporation of mathematical symbols, “x”, “+” and “–“. He used them in different ways, sometimes appearing prominently in the form of collage or cut-outs of wood as in Rechenstück (1950). The symbols function as a geometric and aesthetic repertoire of forms and appear throughout his oeuvre. They can be seen as mere forms, or, on a meta level, the mathematical signs stand for order and logic – a paradoxical element of his practice given his nonconformity.