Manfred Mohr: “Liquid Symmetry”
bitforms gallery is pleased to present the newest work phase of Manfred Mohr’s career within a brief survey of its historical context. The artist utilizes his most complex algorithms to date to engage rational aesthetics, inviting logic to produce visual outcomes. The intricacy of Mohr’s work with algorithms has only increased over the decades. 1999 marked the artist’s first use of color as a result of new parameters, and in 2002, Mohr started to build his own computers for his first generative processes—non-repeating, real-time, screen-based animations.
Generative procedures continue to inform his practice, resulting in the Liquid Symmetry series developed in 2020. Informed by the writings of Max Bense, the musical theory of composer Pierre Barbaud, and Mohr’s decades-long fascination with n-dimensional structures known as “hypercubes,” Liquid Symmetry emerges from a delicate negotiation between the artist’s intuition, his self-imposed rules, and the logic that governs his practice. This work phase is based on a diagonal path through an 11-dimensional hypercube projected in 2-D. As paths intersect, symmetrical counterparts are created, dictating color, line thickness, and form. A red symmetry line is drawn through all endpoints, partially visible at its extremities through overlaid generated shapes.
Mohr’s tireless pursuit of truly original forms, facilitated by algorithms and indeterminacy, offers a meaningful conceptual framework through which to understand the zeitgeist of generative art. The confluence of seminal artist-coders and the explosion of generative art on live-code minting platforms has resulted in a fascinating moment of anachronism. Mohr, who just celebrated his 84th birthday in June, is at the heart of this convergence, as is bitforms gallery, with whom he has worked for years. In the thick of this cultural phenomenon, Liquid Symmetry coincides with bitforms gallery’s own 20th anniversary, and Mohr’s 65th year as a practicing artist.