Manfred Mohr
Since 2004
Works in New York, New York United States of America

Manfred Mohr
Born on June 8, 1938 in Pforzheim (Germany)
Lived in Barcelona, Spain from 1962-1963
Studio in Paris from 1963 to 1983
Lives and works in New York since 1981

Manfred Mohr is considered a pioneer of digital art. After discovering Prof. Max Bense's information aesthetics in the early 1960's, Mohr's artistic thinking was radically changed. Within a few years, his art transformed from abstract expressionism to computer generated algorithmic geometry. Encouraged by the computer music composer Pierre Barbaud whom he met in 1967, Mohr programmed his first computer drawings in 1969.

Some of the collections in which he is represented: Centre Pompidou, Paris; Joseph Albers Museum, Bottrop; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Chicago; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen; Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin; Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montreal; Borusan Art Collection, Istanbul; McCrory Collection, New York; Esther Grether Collection, Basel.

Mohr has had many one-man shows / retrospectives in museums and galleries like: ARC - Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris 1971; Joseph Albers Museum, Bottrop 1998; Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen 1987, 2002; Museum for Concrete Art, Ingolstadt 2001; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen 2007; Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg 2005; Grazyna Kulczyk Foundation, Poznan 2007; ZKM - Media Museum, Karlsruhe 2013; Featured Artist at Art Basel, Basel 2013.

He took part in innumerable group shows for example at: MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York 1980; Centre Pompidou, Paris 1978, 1992; ZKM (Center for Art and Media), Karlsruhe 2005, 2008, 2010; Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch 2005, 2006, 2008; Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid 1989; MoCA, Los Angeles 1975; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo 1984; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco 1973, 1977, 1980; MoMA-PS1, New York 2008; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York 1978; Galerie Paul Facchetti, Paris 1965 und Zürich 1970.

Among the awards he received are: ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art, 2013; [ddaa] d.velop Digital Art Award, Berlin 2006; Artist Fellowship, New York Foundation of the Arts, New York 1997; Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, Linz 1990; Camille Graesser-Preis, Zürich 1990.

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Manfred Mohr - Artificiata II

Sat Sep 14, 2013 00:00 - Sat Nov 09, 2013

Berlin, Germany

Exhibition: 14th of September – 9th of November 2013
Preview: Friday, 13th of September 2013 | 7 – 9 pm
The artist will be present for the opening.
Concert: John Kameel Farah: Unfolding (Solo Piano + Electronics)
Friday, 20th of September 2013 | 8 pm

With the exhibition Artificiata II DAM Gallery presents the fourth solo show of artist Manfred Mohr. The artworks on display are a sequel to the series Artificiata I that was published as a visual artist's book in 1969 by AGENTZIA in Paris. With Artificiata II, the fifth series of software works, the artist visualizes in real-time highly complex algorithms for computer animation on a monitor screen.
In the early 1960s Mohr, one of the pioneers of Digital Art, was significantly influenced by Pierre Barbaud (1911-1990), who was in the vanguard of computer generated music, and by the information aesthetics of art theorist Max Bense (1910-1990). The discovery that electronic computers can also be used for the production of artistic works was like a revelation to the artist and jazz musician. The computer gives an answer to the question how to transfer the principles of the methodical notation of music to visual art.
In the following 40 years Mohr wrote more than 1000 programs and continued to apply the logics of programming language to the creation of his pictures and objects. In this, the computer served as a means for artistic expression and fulfilled the artist's striving for rationality, precision and for the abstract systematics of artistic production. Ever since, the main focus of his work has been the cube. Event though the works exhibited at DAM are also based on the geometrical structure of a cube, an 11-dimensional hypercube, it can no longer be detected in the works on display. Applying the rules of combinatorics during programming the artist manipulates the cube in a variety of ways. Furthermore, by allowing chance Mohr opens the horizon for formal experiments of hitherto unknown complexity.

Contact: Wolf Lieser


The Week Ahead: Honk-Tweet Edition

Thanks for the reference to my ZKM show.
What do you mean by pre-digital?
All my works since 1969 has been generated by the computer.
The show has one room with my work, from 1963 - 1968,
leading up to my work with the computer. All the rest of
the show is digital art - that is 99% of the show is digital.

Manfred Mohr


The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr. 1963−now, ZKM Karlsruhe, June 8 - Sept 1, 2013

Sat Jun 08, 2013 00:00 - Sun Sep 01, 2013

Karlsruhe, Germany

In the 1960s, numerous artists turned away from painting with brush on canvas: They sought alternatives to the spontaneous, emotional expressive forms of the 1950s, such as Tachism, abstract Expressionism and Informel. The various paths let to Op Art, Kinetic Art, Minimal Art and conceptual art. In a certain sense, Manfred Mohr is one of the most radical painters of the period: in 1969 he had already opted for the use of the computer as an artistic medium. The machine fulfilled the yearning for rationality, precision and conceptualization of artistic work opened up the horizon for formal experiments of hitherto unknown complexity. On the occasion of his 75th birthday, the ZKM is dedicating a retrospective to the Pforzheim-born, New York-based artist in the form of a representative selection of works and numerous documents from his archive.
Mohr discovered the use of electronic calculating machines for the production of artistic works by way of the French pioneer of computer-generated music, Pierre Barbaud, with whom he became acquainted in Paris, in 1967. For Mohr, then not only a fine artist, but also a jazz musician, computer art represented an answer to the question as to how in art the principle of systematic, musical notation can be realized. The idea of a rational art had already fascinated Mohr in the early the 1960s, when first encountering the ideas of the philosopher Max Bense. He then learned programming autodidactically, managing to gain access to a computer and plotter at the Météorologie Nationale, the French national institute for meteorology. In 1971, a solo-exhibition of his work was held at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris. This was the first museum solo-exhibition of works by an artist whose works were produced and drawn exclusively by means of a fully automatic digital computer. Over the forty years that followed, Mohr went on to create a comprehensive formal vocabulary which he realized not only in drawings, but also in films, paintings, sculptures, art books, reliefs and computer animation.

The exhibition title makes reference to the decisive moment in the artistic process of the work with a computer: the design of the algorithm, namely, the sets of rules which are systematically processed by the computer. In a text dating from 1971, Manfred Mohr poses the provocative question as to whether it is possible to fully describe an artist’s style by an algorithm. The multiplicity of works presented in the exhibition documents the utopian element of the enterprise.

About the artist:
Manfred Mohr (*1938 in Pforzheim): after a training at the Kunst- und Werkschule Pforzheim the artist studied at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. He has been living and working in New York since 1981. His works are represented in numerous collections, among others, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. His works have been on show in numerous solo- and group exhibitions, such as at the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Pompidou, the Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid and the PS1, New York. His art has been awarded with numerous prizes, among others, with the Goldenen Nica of the Ars Electronica (1990), as well as the d.velop digital art award [ddaa] (2006).

Curator: Margit Rosen

In conjunction with the exhibition a book is to be published with early texts by Manfred Mohr: “Der Algorithmus des Manfred Mohr. Texte 1963–1979”, ed. by Margit Rosen.

photo: Manfred Mohr "P-055", 1970
computer generated plotter drawing, ink on paper
private property
© Manfred Mohr