April–June 2013

By Every Rule in the Book – “The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr” at the ZKM in Karlsruhe

1963 to Now

“The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr. 1963 to Now”
ZKM – Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
In Berlin in 1936 Konrad Zuse assembled the very first, gigantic computer. Some thirty years later, in Paris, the painter and jazz musician Manfred Mohr decided henceforth to produce his art by computer. His desire for precision and rationality corresponded to the trends in the art of the 1960s: away from emotionality and expressivity of the 1950s to the deliberate rationality of Op Art, Minimal Art and Conceptual Art.

Mohr dreamed of finding a notation for art, analogous to the musician’s score. At the Météorologie Nationale in Paris he was given permission to use the computer and plotter of the Institute for Meteorology and began to create his algorithm-supported, that is, rule-based, art works.

In 2013 Mohr, who was born in Pforzheim and lives today in New York, is celebrating his 75th birthday, and the ZKM in Karlsruhe is showing in his honour the exhibition The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr. 1963 to Now, with a variety of computer-generated paintings, drawings, sculptures and animated films.

Accompanying the exhibition is a volume of early texts by Manfred Mohr: “Der Algorithmus des Manfred Mohr. Texte 1963–1979” (The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr. 1963 to Now) (ed. Margit Rosen).

Verena Hütter

Translation: Jonathan Uhlaner
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion
June 2013

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