Manfred Mohr


Manfred Mohr sets up a Benson plotter in Centre de Calcul de la Météorologie Nationale, 1971

Manfred Mohr (*1938, Pforzheim) is one of the first artists world-wide to use computers to produce pictures. After his training as a goldsmith, his path led him via Barcelona to Paris to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Inspired by the experiments of the composer Pierre Barbaud, Mohr taught himself programming in 1969. His first drawings were calculated on the CAE 510 computer at the Centre Universitaire Expérimental de Vincennes. At the end of 1969, he gained access to the Paris Météorologie nationale, where he was allowed to use a CDC 6400 computer.
In April 1970 the computer-generated drawings were shown to the public for the first time: in the context of the exhibition accompanying the »Computer Graphics 70« conference at Brunel University in Uxbridge. In May 1971 he had a solo exhibition at the Musée d'Art moderne le la Ville de Paris. The exhibition entitled »Computer Graphics. Une ésthetique programmée« is the first exhibition of computer-generated images in France. In 1981 Mohr moved to New York.

His works are represented in numerous collections, including the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, ZKM | Karlsruhe and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid, PS1, New York and the ZKM | Karlsruhe.
Mohr has been awarded numerous prizes, including the »Golden Nica of Ars Electronica« (1990), the "»d.velop digital art award [ddaa]« (2006) and the »Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art« of the ACM Siggraph (2013).
On the occasion of his 75th birthday, the ZKM dedicated a retrospective to Manfred Mohr entitled »Der Algorithmus des Manfred Mohr. 1963-jetzt.« A selection of his early texts – »Der Algorithmus des Manfred Mohr: Texte 1963 - 1979« – was published by Spector Books in 2014.

The archive fonds, beginning in the 1960s and continuing to the present day, contain the artist's correspondence, sketches, programmes and notes. Numerous photographs and ephemera document Mohr's work and his outstanding contribution to the history of computer art. The collection comprises about 4 linear metres. Many lines of connection from the Manfred Mohr fonds extend into other ZKM archive fonds such as Herbert W. Franke, Hiroshi Kawano, Frieder Nake and Max Bense, as well as to numerous artists of computer art and new media art in general.

The Art of Generative Thinking. Manfred Mohr and Margit Rosen

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