Heike Werner Gallery

The Gallery.

This website came to life as the »Heike Werner Gallery for Computer Art and New Photography« in summer 2012. It is dedicated to online presentations with virtual loans but also with works of art for sale.
If yo have questions about specific works or on computer art in general - don´t hesitate to send an email.

About Heike Werner:
lives in Munich, Germany,
studied architecture at TU Munich,
works as an architectural editor
and publisher since 2003.

Here are two brief introductions regarding the terms Computer Art and New Photography:

Computer Art

Today, computer art is everywhere. Computer-generated images are all over the »old« and the »new« media. And they already began to change our analog world, the cities and places we live in: in architecture the digital age generates structures and forms which can only be calculated by a computer brain and visualizations that lead us to unprecedented artificial worlds. Music also arrived in the digital age – with Kraftwerk at the latest.

In the opening exhibition »Computer Art 1972« as well as in »Serendipity!« the »Gallery for Computer Art and New Photography« presents solely computer graphics generated in the early days of computer art. Back then, in the 1960s and 70s, mainframe computers ruled the digital world, so that the early software-artists were in general natural scientists – mathematicians, physicists, engineers – those chosen few who had access to a mainframe.

The era of computer art began when the computer man started to develop an art consciousness and exhibited his self-programmed works of art for the first time. That happened in the year 1965. There were earlier computer-generated works of course, but the first official step into the art world occurred in 1965. In that year the first computer art exhibitions opened in Stuttgart (Germany) and in New York.

In Stuttgart the driving force behind the show was Max Bense, professor for philosophy and technology and a major developer of the so called information aesthetics. This website´s second exhibition, »red 40+1«, presents early editions of his »edition rot«. Bense enabled the first exhibition displaying the computer graphics of mathematician Georg Nees at the gallery of the TH Stuttgart in early 1965. Only a little later in the year the Howard Wise Gallery in New York presented »Computer-Generated Pictures«, computer graphics by engineer A. Michael Noll and textures created for perceptional experiments by scientist Bela Julesz. By the end of the year the Galerie Niedlich, again in Stuttgart, exhibited algorithmic graphics of Georg Nees and his fellow mathematician Frieder Nake.
These early digital artists, especially Nees, Nake and Noll - the »3N« - are today regarded as the pioneers of computer art.
Bense also inspired the first international computer art exhibition »Cybernetic Serendipity« in London, 1968. Some of the computer graphics presented there can be seen on our »Serendipity!« pages.

In the early days the term computer art led to irritations. The art world widely rejected digital art, not only because some feared that a machine would soon replace the creative brain of the artist – no, worse: these natural scientists infiltrated the art world like aliens!
These fears were of course baseless. Today we find and know that there is a creative human brain behind every digital creation and this human – call him artist, software author or user – uses the computer as a major tool to create.
The alleged opposition of natural science and art and the humanities in general, which fueled many hefty discussions about computer art in the 1960s, is obviously becoming irrelevant with the progress of the digital age.

In fact the computer art expanded the possibilities as well as the understanding of the composition of images. As computer artist and collector Herbert W. Franke once put it*:

»Sure the computer is only the instrument – the medium that serves the realization of ideas –, but among the means which serve artistic goals it is still something extraordinary, because it´s influence goes beyond materialistic procedures: The very method of programming leads to a new way in designing and understanding pictures.«

*Quote from the exhibition catalogue »Ex Machina«, Kunsthalle Bremen.

Among the computer art created in the 1960s and 70s also musical and kinetic experiments and daring computer poetry can be found.
Most of these early digital creations are so called algorithmic art, because they are based on algorithms – a set of rules or instructions. Those algorithms were translated in a program language which made them machine-readable. Processed by a mainframe computer this program generated e.g. computer graphics and drove the automatic drawing process.

The era of »early computer art« ended in the early 1980s when the personal computer was introduced to the mass market. Now many people gained access to the digital art tool »computer«. As we all know, especially those of us who are old enough to remember the 80s, an unbelievable progress was triggered, that changed our daily life and also rolled up the art scene and art-making itself.

In conclusion, the existence of other definitions of »computer art« has to be pointed out: The V&A, the Victoria and Albert Museum for example, which owns a great collection of computer art, uses the term »computer art« solely for digitally generated works which were created between the early 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s.

The development of computer art – in the broadest sense – from the 1980s on is so diverse in its different aspects that a further definition would go too far beyond the context of this »Computer Art« exhibition. For more see Wikipedia: digital art.

For art historic details please check out the V&A´s History of Computer Art as well as the bilingual exhibition catalogue »Ex Machina - Frühe Computergrafik bis 1979«, Kunsthalle Bremen 2007, which also offers an excellent computer art overview including the analog graphics of the 1950s.
The websites of the computer art shows that took place between 2004 and 2009 at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, also provide information: The »Algorithmic Revolution« and »bit international«. From the latter the book »A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art« edited by Margit Rosen evolved – a must-read for computer art aficionados.

For more information on the design and the generative process of the graphics displayed on this website please visit: »Computer Art 1972«.

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New Photography

The term »New Photography« as it is used by this gallery means photographic images produced or marked by digital equipment and editing techniques and covers digitally generated photo-like pictures as well.
»New Photography« in that sense should not be confused with the modernist »Nieuwe Fotografie« in the Netherlands.

»New Photography« covers the complete bandwidth of contemporary photography as defined in the manifesto »FROM HERE ON« published at the exhibition of the same name 2011 at »Rencontres de la Photographie« in Arles, France - which is no longer online. In that manifesto the curators (Clément Chéroux, Joan Fontcuberta, Erik Kessels, Martin Parr, Joachim Schmid) for example write:

»Now, we´re a species of Editors. We recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload.«

»All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view.«

Therefore the spectrum of works in »New Photography« is extremely broad – the limits of photography have been pushed to new territories, the borders to some other forms of art have fallen. Due to this extreme diversity this introduction will be expanded according to the upcoming website contributions.

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