Manfred Mohr, ‘Schrift-Bild’, 1964, bitforms gallery

The origins Mohrʼs of logical systems constructed with the computer are rooted in pure language - even chaotic surrealistic use of language – which is visible in his works from 1964, created at age 26, before he discovered the computer as a tool. The material approach in these pieces couldnʼt possibly be more traditional: egg tempera on canvas, lithography, and aquatint etching. In these early works lies a clear relationship to other painters who engaged writing and language systems in their work of the same period, such as Cy Twombly, Leon Ferrari and Mira Schendel.

A natural link exists between conceptual art and the way Manfred Mohr approaches image making using a computer. Beginning his trajectory as a painter and jazz musician, Mohr eventually gravitated toward programming in 1968. Encouraged by his friend Pierre Barbaud, the first composer to use a computer to realize his music, Mohr founded an arts group called “Art et Informatique” at the University of Vicennes during his studies. By 1969 Mohr gained rare access to a Benson plotter that drew his works on paper and had been using the FORTRAN programming language for all his projects.

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