When: Until 27th July 2018 (Open Monday – Friday, 10am – 5.30pm)
Where: The Mayor Gallery, 21 Cork Street, London W1S 3LZ
£: Free admission
What is it?
Writing New Codes, a new exhibition at The Mayor Gallery in London, presents three major pioneers of computer art from three different corners of the globe.
Artists Waldemar Cordeiro (b. 1925 Rome, Italy – d. 1973 São Paulo, Brazil), Robert Mallary (b. 1917 Toledo, USA – d. 1997 Northampton, USA) and Vera Molnár (b.1924 Budapest, Hungary) all produced early computer art, from 1969 – 1979.
Although each has an original style and distinctive approach, influenced by aspects of Constructivism, Op Art, Systems Art, Conceptualism and Concrete art, with these works can be seen a similar modernist aesthetic and common interest in exploiting the unique capabilities inherent in the computer.
Computer art is an historical term to describe work made with or through the agency of a digital computer – predominately as a tool but also as a material, method or concept – from around the early 1960s onward, when such technology began to become available to artists. The writing of an algorithm, a step-by-step procedure fed into the computer on punched cards or paper tape, would produce lines (visible on an oscilloscope or CRT screen if one was available), which could be output to a plotter. Plotters conveyed the image direct to paper via a moving pen, felt-tip or pencil. Due to their very nature, plotter drawings from this pioneering period are fairly rare today.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary celebrations of Cybernetic Serendipity, the now legendary exhibition of 1968 at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, which featured work by both Mallary and Molnár; the first comprehensive international exhibition in Britain, devoted to exploring and celebrating the relationship between new computing technology and the arts.