The Sky Over Nine Columns

The Installation

For the installation The Sky Over Nine Columns Heinz Mack designed nine columns measuring more than seven meters in height, with a light-reflecting golden surface made up of 850,000 mosaic tiles. These 2 x 2 cm. mosaic stones, covered in 24-carat gold leaf, were produced in Venice, applied to the substrate of the columns in Dubai and shipped back to Venice.

For the idea of an installation with nine rectangular steles, Heinz Mack reverted to a design originally intended for the Pergamon Museum, which has thus far not been realized. Mack envisioned a kind of dialogue with the Altan Tepe Temple in Anatolia, the temples of Egypt, as well as the six pillars of the Temple of the Queen of Sheba in Yemen. The intercultural connection of Orient and Occident, which has long played a central role in the artist’s aesthetic, is enriched by this relationship to historic temples, but also by the material of the mosaics themselves.

To appreciate the full effect of the installation, the viewer is invited to walk alongside the pillars or stroll among them as if through an open temple. “Column and pillar connected the earth with the sky and ultimately supported a roof. As a poetic metaphor, my ensemble of nine pillars is now conceived as bearing the sky.“ (Heinz Mack)

The installation The Sky Over Nine Columns by Heinz Mack is a project of the Ralph Dommermuth Foundation for Art and Culture, which is managed by Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art in close cooperation with the artist. Its target is to present the installation in various international locations during the coming years.

The Sky Over Nine Columns The Sky Over Nine Columns The Sky Over Nine Columns

Exhibition and Project Planning

Heinz Mack is deeply interested in public spaces and in those who views his work there. The Sky Over Nine Columns requires a public space, since the artist’s objective is to reach as many viewers as possible. “Art that becomes objective, that reaches beyond the private-subjective – which is also legitimate – ultimately becomes world art. It belongs to everyone, defines the very contours of a culture’s identity and enjoys great social relevance.“ (Heinz Mack)

Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art manages the project HEINZ MACK - The Sky Over Nine Columns in close cooperation with the artist on behalf of the Ralph Dommermuth Foundation, whose aim is to make art and culture accessible to a wide audience. In that spirit they hope to exhibit the work acquired from Heinz Mack in major international cities during the coming years.

The high aim of a presentation in various metropolises and art centers serves as a cultural exchange, which is an imminent component of the installation itself. A metropolis offers the best possibility of integrating The Sky Over Nine Columns evidently and visibly in the urban landscape. The installation thus becomes a cultural highlight in each particular city, attracting tourists and art lovers alike.

The third presentation of The Sky Over Nine Columns is on view since June 24, 2016. The installation is standing in the water basin adjacent to Santiago Calatrava’s magnificent Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias (CAC) in Valencia, where it will be exhibited until November 1st, 2016.

Technical Details

nine square steles: each 750 x 125 x 125 cm
pedestal: 18,74 x 13,8 m
total surface: 261 m²
weight columns: 12 871 kg
weight steel frame: 16 957 kg
weight pepple stones: 23 497 kg
total weight: 53 325 kg

The artist Heinz Mack

The German artist Heinz Mack (*1931) has worked as a painter and sculptor for more than sixty years. In 1958, he co-founded the group ZERO together with Otto Piene, later to be joined by Günther Uecker. ZERO developed into an international movement, including such fellow artists and close friends as Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, who are considered among the most influential artists of the 20th century. All were intent on developing new forms of creation, dealing with structure rather than composition, with light and movement.

Since the 1950s, Heinz Mack has developed a unique language of light and color, and he is a leading exponent of kinetic art. The concept of the “Light Stele”, to which The Sky Over Nine Columns refers, was first formulated by Mack in the late 1950s and 1960s in his celebrated Sahara Project. His works in public spaces – whether in urban settings or in nature – are always conceived as objects embodying light: “Light is decisive for my art. As far as light is concerned, I want to go to the limits of the possible.” The artist participated at the documenta in Kassel in 1964 and 1977. In 1970, together with three other German artists, Mack represented Germany at the 35th Venice Biennale. In 2001 Heinz Mack became the first „western“ artist following the Islamic Revolution to be honored with a comprehensive show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Since the extensive retrospective in 2011 at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland on the occasion of his 80th birthday, interest in the art of Heinz Mack has increased enormously. The important ZERO exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2014 was a major success, and Heinz Mack was represented there by twenty-three works. Large ZERO exhibitions, could also be seen in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin and the Stedelijk-Museum in Amsterdam, which both achieved international recognition.

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Beck und Eggeling Barta und Partner AXA Art


The project “The Sky over Nine Columns“ is organized by the Ralph Dommermuth Foundation for Art and Culture, a non-profit and legally recognized foundation according to the German civil code.

Project Direction:
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art
Bilkerstraße 5
D-40213 Düsseldorf


Foundation Headquarters:
Eigendorfer Straße 57
D-56410 Montabaur

Executive Director:
Norbert Lang

Supervisory Authority:
Direction of Supervision and Services
Willy-Brand-Platz 3

Despite the careful control of the contents, we accept no liability for the content of external links. Solely the operator of the linked pages is responsible for their content. Any and all information offered here may be further diffused or otherwise published – even in extracts – only with the express written approval of the Ralph Dommermuth Foundation for Art and Culture. In no case is it permitted to use information drawn from this source online or in other media or to use it for commercial purposes.

Responsibility for contents:
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art

Development and Design:
Jana Reddemann, Caroline Villis


24 June to 1 November 2016

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Valencia
GPS 39°27'20.7"N 0°21'12.7"W

The Sky Over Nine Columns finds its third exhibition site. On the grounds of the Ciutat de les Arts i les Cièncias in Valencia, on a specially constructed platform in the reflecting pool before the Hemisféric, the artwork can be viewed from June 24 to November 1, 2016.

The exhibition in Valencia is curated by Kosme de Barañano. A festive unveiling of the steles, accompanied by drinks and tapas, took place in the presence of the artist on June 24, 2016, at 8:00 p.m.

Valencia Valencia Valencia Valencia Valencia

The choice of Valencia as a location is the result of an intensive search for a place to initiate a new dialogue. Santiago Calatrava’s grandiose, organically flowing architecture for the Ciuta de les Arts i les Ciències in gleaming white offers Heinz Mack’s minimalistic golden steles a new, dramatic context. On this site of sun and light, the resulting play of thousands of continuously shifting reflections becomes even more spectacular.

The contrast between the two great, magnificently formed sculptures - Mack speaks with great appreciation of Calatrava’s architecture as a sculptural creation – could not be greater. Through the structured openness and simple beauty of both creations there arises a field of tension that casts its spell over the viewer.

© Alfonso Calza Pictures


2 September 2015 until April 2016

Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Istanbul
GPS 41°06'20.9"N 29°03'25.0"E

Parallel to the Istanbul Biennial 2015, the installation The Sky Over Nine Columns was placed at a location expressly designed for it in the sculpture garden of the Sakip Sabanci Museum. It could be viewed there from September, 2015, to April, 2016.

Due to the elevated location by the mountain, the art work was not only visible from a great distance, but also made the columns blaze in in the most diverse moods of light during the course of the day. “The steles only come alive when they have the proper light, because they are tools of light and the expression of its energy.” (Heinz Mack)

Patronage for the presentation of The Sky Over Nine Columns in Istanbul and the following solo show of Heinz Mack was assumed by Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Secretary of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


3 June until 23 November 2014

Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
GPS 45°25'47.32"N 12°20'33.6"E

The Sky Over Nine Columns was exhibited for the first time on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, in conjunction with the Venice Architecture Biennale. The installation of the German artist Heinz Mack was shown from June 3 to November 23, 2014.

The project was realized by Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, who represent Heinz Mack exclusively worldwide, together with Sigifredo di Canossa and in cooperation with the Fondazione Giorgo Cini in Venice. The installation was placed on the square opposite the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, where it glowed with the light of the sun by day and the moon by night, casting its own shimmering reflection in the water.

The gold mosaic covering the surface of the steles relates in its masterly craftsmanship to the historic cultural and trade relations between the Orient and Occident, which were focused in Venice. The golden mosaic work in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice gives proof of this. For Heinz Mack, gold represents “the most abstract form of the sublime.”

During the Venice Architecture Biennale the installation was viewed by as many as five million visitors. The interest of the international press was particularly high. European art magazines and German and Italian newspapers, above all, reported about this exceptional project, but it also received the attention of American art platforms. Thousands of images were shared through social media channels and were thus dispersed throughout the world.

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