Mohr's work is an important bridge between handmade manipulations and machine-calculated structures in art. His demonstrated interest in process, language and line texture are revealed in in early abstract painted works, prior to his discovery of the computer as a tool for art. This particular drawing is part of Mohr's early algorithmic work phase (1969-72, following an interest in hard edge painting) which emphasized a "formalism" of the software medium: logical and automatic construction of pictures. In this work phase, the left-to-right linear composition is also influenced by Mohr's observation of the way a computer-controlled drawing machine (the Benson plotter) drags ink across the paper, as if it were written in a script.
Typical of his early algorithmic work, this piece links line to language, process and conceptual systems. Mohr calculated the image using a program that he authored in the FORTRAN language. With a choice of different line characteristics, an alphabet of randomly generated elements is created.
The concept for this drawing is that a set of random points above a horizontal line are first connected. Then, in defined steps, the points are linearly transformed into their positions on a horizontal line. This process is repeated in the reverse manner, forming each of the eight bands.
About Manfred Mohr
Influenced by his experience as a jazz musician and by German philosopher Max Bense’s theories on rational aesthetics, Manfred Mohr has been an innovator in the field of computer-generated art. To manipulate, for example, the myriad variations of the 11-dimension hypercube, Mohr created algorithms in FORTRAN programming language and printed them on flatbed plotters before the advent of laser printers. Mohr’s “Klangfarben” series (2008) features paintings and digital animation of brightly colored diagonal lines and intersecting planes against a flat black background.
German, b. 1938, Pforzheim, Germany