Hans Salentin (1925 - 2009)

Hans Salentin must incontestably be counted among the founders of the ZERO-movement. In the aftermath
of the 4th evening exhibition of the artist group in September 1957, he was naturally also present at it’s naming in a Düsseldorfer pub. From 1955 onwards, Mack, Piene and Salentin, fellow students from the paining class of Paul Bindel, were already sharing a studio on Gladbacher Strasse in Düsseldorf. His collaboration with Piene and Mack, among other members of the movement, spanned many years and he contributed significantly to numerous group shows in Germany, as well as internationally. Up until 1965, his reliefs assembled from roofing tiles, zinc and aluminium provided a consistent component of these exhibitions. Throughout the course of his work, Salentin made use of the design principles of collage and assemblage, in addition to exploring the transformation of an “objet trouvé” into an “objet corrigé”. The latter expression signifies deliberate intervention into a found object, including it’s overt presentation. His roofing-tile relief sculptures are composed of whole tiles, occasionally also of tile fragments, arranged in various combinations on a bed of cement. They are subsequently covered in a white coat of paint, which creates a subtle interplay of light and shadows. Thereby, the intense plurality of forms is impressed upon the viewer. 




1925 Born in Düren


1936 Attends high school, already intensive contact with various art teachers


1947 - 1949 Studies at the private state-approved painting school of Jo Strahn in Düsseldorf – Niederkassel


1950 - 1954 Studies at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, and attends the class of Paul Bindel. Becomes friend with Heinz Mack and Otto Piene


1954 Moves to Cologne and teaches art


since 1955 Studio in the Gladbacher Strasse, where Mack already works. Salentin shares a room, in particular with Piene


1956 Trip to Paris, he becomes acquainted with Yves Klein


1957 Formal start as member of the "Gruppe 53"


1959 - 1961 Creates the "Dachziegelreliefs" (roof tiles reliefs)


1961 Represented in the journal "ZERO 3" by three Dachziegelreliefs


1963 Receives with the ZERO group the first price of the San Marino Biennale


1976 Member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund


1981 - 1989 Withdrawal from the art scene on health grounds


1995 Returns to sculpture with medium-sized cardboard and polystyrene reliefs, several of these artworks painted in white relate directly to the Dachziegelreliefs


2009 Died in Cologne



1957 - 1958 Takes part in the 1st, 4th and 7th evening exhibition organised by Mack and Piene, Dusseldorf


1962 Participates in the group exhibition Anti-Peinture, Hessenhuis, Antwerp


1963 San Marino Biennale


1964 Participates in the group exhibition ZERO, New Vision Centre, London, and Group Zero, Institute of European Experimental Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


1974 First complete display of the Dachziegelreliefs at the Galerie Oppenheim, Cologne


1977 Documenta 6, Kassel


1999 - 2000 Group exhibition Retrospektive ZERO aus Deutschland, Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Stadtgalerie Kiel and Museo Colecciones, Milan


2006 - 2007 Group exhibition Zero, Internationale Künstler-Avantgarde der 50er/60er Jahre, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf; Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne


2011 Reliefs - Sculptures - Collages, Kunsthaus NRW, Aachen


2013 Im Schleudersitz durch die Galaxie. Hans Salentin. ZERO und der Weltraum, Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr


           Collages with paper and metal, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen

           Zero in Gelsenkirchen 1963/2013, Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen


2014 - 2015 Group exhibition ZERO. Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s, Guggenheim, New York / Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin / Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


2015 Paper as an experiment,  Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren

           Hans Salentin. Spuren der Zukunft. Skulpturen und Bilder, Museum Bautzen


2016 Art after 1945 - 1968, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe


2017 Le socle du monde Biennale, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark