FROM GENERATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
"The aim of generative aesthetics is the artificial production of probabilities of innovation or deviation from the norm" (Max Bense)
Generative photography was an important and long neglected artistic movement in the 1960s in Germany and at the same time the birth of computer aesthetic and cybernetic art, which retrospectively can be regarded as the beginning of the discourse on data images and digital photography.
An important predecessor and inspiration for generative photography constituted the avant-garde groupe fotoform in Berlin, of which Heinz Hajek-Halke was a significant member. His experimental photographic paintings and so-called Lichtgraphiken (light graphics) provide crucial insights to postwar German photography.
Among the pioneers and mentors of the group of generative photographers was the Austrian artist Herbert W. Franke, who also came to be the founder of Ars Electronica in Linz, as well as the Stuttgart based philosopher Max Bense who defined the term "generative aesthetics".
Based on this philosophical term, Kunsthaus Bielefeld opened in 1968 the legendary group show Generative Fotografie presenting works by Gottfried Jäger, Pierre Cordier, Kilian Breier and Hein Gravenhorst. Generative photography articulates the idea of artistic constructivism onto which has been grafted the numerical programming of apparative systems as for example the pinhole structures by Jäger.
Jäger and Karl Martin Holzhäuser were teaching the theory of generative photography over decades at Werkkunstschule Bielefeld and published in 1975 the manifesto-like compendium Generative Fotografie.
The notion "to play against the apparatus" by theorist and philosopher Villém Flusser set the tone for this particular style of photography. The yearly symposiums on photography in Bielefeld have become legendary over the course of thirty years and have transmitted ideas, which have radiated on the art of younger generation artists such as Michael Reisch and Dan Holdsworth.
SCHEUBLEIN + BAK presents a rare selection of vintage photographs by the pioneers of analogue computer art (photography) from the 1950s and 1960s at Paris Photo 2016. The historical work of Heinz Hajek-Halke, Herbert W. Franke, Heinrich Heidersberger, Gottfried Jäger, Pierre Cordier and Karl Martin Holzhäuser are juxtaposed to digital camera-less photography of the most cutting edge contemporary artists such as Dan Holdsworth and Michael Reisch who adapted the idea of generative photography to the age of digital art.