Hans Haacke - Rheinwasseraufbereitungsanlage (Rhine Water Purification Plant) installation - 1972
During his formative years in Germany, Haacke was a member of Zero (an international group of artist, active ca. 1957-1966). This group was held together with common motivations: the longing to re-harmonize man and nature and to restore art’s metaphysical dimension. They sought to organize the pictorial surface without using traditional devices.
Although their methods differed greatly, most of the work was monochromatic, geometric, kinetic, and gestural. But most of all they used nontraditional materials such as industrial materials, fire and water, light, and kinetic effects. The influence of the Zero group and the materials they used is clear in Haacke’s early work from his paintings that allude to movement and expression to his early installations that are formally minimal and use earthly elements as materials