All my relations to aesthetical decisions always go back to musical thinking, either active in that I played a musical instrument or theoretical in that I see my art as visual music… I was very impressed by Anton Webern’s music from the 1920s where for the first time I realized that space, the pause, became as important to the musical construct as the sound itself. So there are these two poles, one and zero.
one and zero, Manfred Mohr’s first solo exhibition in London, presents a concise survey of his fifty-year practice. Harnessing the automatic processes of the computer, Mohr’s work brings together his deep interest in music and mathematics to create works that are rigorously minimal but with an elegant lyricism that belie their formal underpinnings. Through drawing, painting, wall-reliefs and screen-based works, the show examines the artist’s practice through the prism of music and the idea that what is left out is as important as what remains.
Beginning in 1969, Mohr was one of the first visual artists to explore the use of algorithms and computer programs to make independent abstract artworks. His early computer plotter drawings - when he had access to one of the earliest computer driven plotter drawing machines at the Meteorology Institute in Paris - are delicate, spare monochrome works on paper derived from algorithms devised by the artist and executed by the computer. P198aa (1977-79) is an elegant rhythmic composition of nine randomly rotated and cut cubes that hints at multi-dimensional space.