Born Laasphe, Westphalia. 1948-50: Hochschule der BildendenKunste, Munich. 1950-53: Staadtliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf. 1953-57: Studied philosophy at University of Cologne. 1957: Founded Zero Group with Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker. 1957-61: Lived in Cologne. Later lived in Düsseldorf, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Brewster, NY. 1958-61: Helped to publish magazines Zero 1, 2, 3, Cologne. 1959: First light performances and environments. First one-person exhibition, Galerie Alfred Schmela, Düsseldorf. 1960: First automated light sculptures and fire-paintings. 1961: Staged a series of demonstrations with Zero Group, in Cologne and on the banks of the Rhine, flying large transparent hot-air balloons. "The Movement Movement," Stedelijk (travelled to Stockholm). 1962: First one-person exhibition abroad, McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London. Stadtisches Museum Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen. 1963: Exhibition with Heinz Mack and Gunther Uecker, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld. 1964: Visiting Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. "Painting and Sculpture of a Decade," Tate. Galerie Lawrence, Paris; Galleria Il Bilico, Rome (with Heinz Mack). 1965: First one-person exhibition in US, Howard Wise Gallery, New York. "Art Today," Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.1968-72: Taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, where in 1969 he exhibited Field of Hot Air Sculpture over a Fire in the Snow, composed of 30 balloons of different sizes, raised with hot air from tanks in the field, lit by arc lights. 1970: "Kinetic Art," Hayward Gallery, London. 1977: "documenta 6," Kassel. 1983: "Electra," ARC. 1984: Guggenheim.