Oskar Holweck was the first to work with paper as an artistic material. Bending, buckling, crumpling, folding, creasing, pressing, compressing, sticking, scoring, piercing, tearing, slitting, cutting, gluing, beating, drilling, sawing etc. are among the techniques he used to work with paper.
In 1958 he was invited by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene to exhibit with them and was forthwith shown in a great range of ZERO exhibitions and exhibitions focussing on post war European art. Nevertheless, after his death his works had all but disappeared from the art market – as a result of an agonisingly long inheritance dispute. Now Oskar Holweck’s artistic significance can be experienced anew.
Oskar Holweck is a historically important artist who was not only a member of the ZERO group, but is also considered THE pioneer of paper art. He became known for his ink works in the mid-1950s, and then discovered the medium of paper for himself two years later. Heinz Mack wrote about his colleague that “he was one of the most innovative of the group and he still maintained this standard later on”. From 1958 onwards, Holweck’s works were shown in ZERO (and affiliated) exhibitions: by Henk Peeters at the Staedeljik in Amsterdam, by Schmela in Düsseldorf, by Manzoni in Milan. He was the quiet member in the group of loud voices. As reserved as his materials, so was he himself.
But while Piene, Mack and Ücker recently rose to ever new market heights, Holweck remained rather hidden. He was considered an influential teacher, but avoided the public eye and was himself rarely present at his own exhibition openings. Despite many calls from important art schools, he remained in the Saarland. Like Jan Schoonhoven, he worked in seclusion in the province. Twice he refused participation in the Documenta in Kassel.
His biography is impressive and includes hundreds of exhibitions. During his lifetime, as well as after his death, he exhibited in many important museums and galleries worldwide, as most recently in 2019 at the Centre Pompidou, Metz, in the exhibition “Yves Klein and his contemporaries”. In 2015 in the major “ZERO” exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and in the same year “The International Art Movements of the 1950s and 1960s” at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin; or in 2016 “Cut, Folded, Pressed & Other Actions” at David Zwirner in New York.
At this moment he is involved in three museum exhibitions: “ZERO and Post-War Art in Europe” at IVAM, Valencia, “Bibliomania” at Museum Villa Zanders in Bergisch Gladbach and „EPOCHE ZERO. Die Sammlung Lenz Schönberg zu Gast“ in the Kunstmuseum Ahlen