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Manfred Mohr - Computer Graphics, Une Esthétique Programmée, ARC - Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 1971

History and development of the show

Revolutionary for its time, these drawings were more than mere curiosities - they signaled Mohr's new thinking of image creation, setting in motion a trajectory in information aesthetics.

Discovering the theoretical writings of the German philosopher Max Bense in the early 1960's, Mohr was fascinated by the idea of a programmed aesthetic which coincided with his strong interest in technology and designing of electronic devices.

Mohr's artistic thinking was radically changed. Within a few years, his art transformed from abstract expressionism to computer generated algorithmic geometry.

An important encounter for Mohr, himself a practicing musician, was meeting Pierre Barbaud in 1967, a French composer using a computer to compose music. This profoundly reassured Mohr that he was on the right path.

It was without fear and almost natural for Mohr to learn in 1969 the Fortran IV programming language to create compositions that he executed as ink drawings on paper with a Benson 1284 flatbed plotter and a CDC 6400 computer.

Mohr was granted access to the Institute of Meteorology in Paris and was able to use the most powerful machines of that time. He worked there almost nightly from 1970 to 1983 to do his research, programming and drawing his art. He previously started this research in 1969 at the Faculty of Vincennes, Paris in the group "Art et Informatique" and his first drawings were executed on microfilm and also on a large Zuse flatbed plotter at the University of Darmstadt in Germany.

Since 1969, Mohr exclusively works with the computer executing his programs as drawings, paintings, films, etchings, and laser cuts on steel plates. In 2002, he started to integrate self-built computers into his art to specifically run his programs on LCD flat screens.