Computer-Generated Art Captures a Hypercube in 2D

Manfred Mohr gives you a primer on your extra-dimensional geometry.

by Nathaniel Ainley
07 November 2015, 2:00pm

Manfred Mohr, P-777-mbb, 2000, LCD screen, PC computer, custom software, 68.2 x 13.7 x 12.1 in / 173 x 34.7 x 30.5 cm. Images courtesy bitforms gallery

When you type something into a search engine like Google, your text is run through an algorithm to retrieve page results that best suit your inquiry. It is a formula, a step-by-step set of operations mathematically constructed to perform a certain task. What if that task was to make abstract visual art?

bitforms gallery writes, "Manfred Mohr has been making paintings, drawings, wall reliefs, and films using computers since 1968." That’s nearly five decades of computer artwork. In his fifth solo show at bitforms, the software based generative art pioneer travels through numerous dimensions in his collection of algorithmic-based art works, calculated and drawn by a computer. Artificiata II includes both new works and never-before-exhibited older projects.

Mohr sought to express the intersection between rationality and expressiveness in his artwork, something he first recognized during his training in both fine arts and jazz. When Mohr was introduced to algorithmic music in the 60s he realized he could apply the same model to his artistic practice, and the results shifted his practice from the expressionist to the abstract and geometric. bitforms explains, “Using software as his medium, Mohr created a visual language based on the cube: if software is sheet music, the cube is its notation.”

The hard-line abstract shapes, at the center of Mohr’s works in Artificiata II, are made from a design concept he introduced back in 1978 called a "diagonal path, a multiple-segmented line where each change of direction indicates the passage through a single dimension.” The diagonal path is rooted in a hypercube (Tesseract) and drawn randomly between 11 and 15 dimensions. The end result is a rigid multi planed shape you didn't know existed that challenges your perception of space and what you thought the 4th dimension might look like.

Manfred Mohr, P-671 b, 1999-2003, Laminated pigment ink on paper, 43.4 x 37.4 in / 110 x 95 cm

Manfred Mohr, P-495-2, 1994-95, Plotter drawing on paper, 17 x 31.3 in / 43 x 79.5 cm

Manfred Mohr, P-1622-G, 2012-15, LCD screen, Mac Mini, 14 x 14 x 3 in / 35.6 x 35.6 x 7.6 cm

Manfred Mohr, P1682_166, 2014, Pigment ink on paper, 23.6 x 31.9 in / 60 x 81 cm

Manfred Mohr, P-512a_1, 1996, Acrylic on canvas and wood, 19.6 x 26.3 in / 50 x 67 cm

Manfred Mohr, P-460a77-3-6, 1989, Laminated double-sided plotter ink drawing on vellum, mounted on paper, 26.5 x 26.5 in / 67 x 67 cm, framed

Manfred Mohr, P1611_10723, 2012-2013, Pigment ink on canvas, 48.1 x 48.1 in / 122 x 122 cm

Manfred Mohr: Artificiata II is on display November 8 – December 27, 2015 at bitforms gallery in New York City. More from the artist here, and check out bitforms gallery here.


Original Creators: Manfred Mohr

Manfred Mohr Plays The Machine, Turning Algorithms Into Visual Music

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Envision The Fourth Dimension Inside This LED Hypercube

Bitforms Gallery
algorithmic art
Manfred Mohr
Artificiata II
abstract shapes