Otto Piene was born on the 18th of April 1928 in Laasphe. He studied at the Blocherer School for Interior Design and Communication Design, as well as Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He then transferred to the art academy Düsseldorf for three years. Together with Heinz Mack he founded the group ZERO in 1958, which Günther Uecker joined three years later. These artists are still amongst the most important initiators of post-war international art. Piene's work is present in numerous large museums and collections, such as in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffallo), the Folkwang Museum (Essen), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo). In 1959, Piene designed light ballet smoke pictures with reference to elemental nature energy. The traces of fire and smoke are important elements of these works. He also experimented with multimedia combinations. Piene became popular in particular with his light ballet and other light kinetic works. Due to his intense studies of light and movement he also created air and light sculptures. Otto Piene died on the 17th of July 2014 in Berlin.