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Pioneer Work: Georg Nees

This page is dedicated to the computer art pioneer Georg Nees.


The mathematician Georg Nees (1926-2016) was the first artist to present computer graphics as art in an exhibition initiated by Max Bense in February 1965 (read more).
»Pioneer Work: Georg Nees« presents some of his works generated between 1965 and 1970.

 Pioneer Work #1      Sculpture 1

The motif of this print is Georg Nees´ three-dimensional wooden sculpture »Sculpture 1«, which had been created with a (via punch card) program controlled milling machine.


Print: Sculpture 1, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
Sculpture 1
offset lithography after photograph of wood sculpture, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Sculpture generated between 1965 and 1968 with a Siemens-system 2002 and 4004,
programmed in EXAP-1 for a Sinumerik milling machine

Publicized in Georg Nees: Generative Computergraphik, 1969


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 Pioneer Work #2      Sculpture 2

This print shows »Sculpture 2«. Like the sculpture above, it is based on a program written in EXAP-1, which was transferred to a punch tape for the milling machine.


Print: Sculpture 2, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
Sculpture 2
offset lithography after color photograph of sculpture, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Sculpture generated: around 1968 with a Siemens system 4004,
programmed in EXAP-1 for a Sinumerik milling machine

Publicized in Georg Nees: Generative Computergraphik, 1969.


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 Pioneer Work #3      Untitled

This print´s motif is an untitled multi colored computer graphic.


Print 3, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
untitled
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1970, probably with a Siemens system 4004,
Publicized in Ex Machina catalogue (No. 351)



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 Pioneer Work #4      Hall (Corridor)

The computer graphic Hall (Corridor) depicts textures and figures in a perspective view. At the end of the 1960s this graphic showed the potential of the computer for architectural design and depiction.


Hall (Corridor), Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees: Hall (Corridor)
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: between 1965 and 1968 with Siemens 2002
Programmed in ALGOL and drawn on a ZUSE-Graphomat Z64 plotter
Publicized in Georg Nees: Generative Computergraphik, 1969.



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 Pioneer Work #5      Sphere in a Sphere

The sphere motif is also a perspectively designed computer graphic. This computer graphic was also part of the 1969 Hanover exhibition »Computer-Kunst - On the Eve of Tomorrow«. Nees presented a simpler variation in his book »Generative Computergraphik«.


Sphere in a Sphere, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
Sphere in a Sphere
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1969, with a Siemens 2002 (acc. Nees), Programmed in ALGOL and drawn on a ZUSE-Graphomat plotter
Publicized in Ex Machina catalogue (349, in color)



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 Pioneer Work #6      Untitled (Butterfly Swarm)

The graphics of the series »Butterfly Swarm« were generated by the use of a random generator. Nees wrote about the different figures of the »butterflies« in the swarm forming a »graphical alphabet«, the »alphabet of butterfly figures« which is defined by program parameters.


Swarm, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
Untitled (Butterfly Swarm)
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1969, probably with a Siemens system 4004,
Similar motifs from the swarm-series publicized in Georg Nees: Generative Computergraphik, 1969



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 Pioneer Work #7      Untitled

The motif of this computer graphic is a texture of overlapping forms, generated by the use of a random generator. To produce a texture, Nees imitates a corrosion process in the generative graphic by using random numbers.


Computer Graphic, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
untitled
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1970, probably with a Siemens system 4004,
Publiziert im Ex Machina Katalog (Nr. 351, Inv. Nr. 2006/41e) / Publicized in Ex Machina catalogue (No. 351, Inv. Nr. 2006/41e)



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 Pioneer Work #8      Untitled

This motif is an ornament developed by Nees which was later used to demonstrate the use of the computer in textile design and industry.


Computer Graphic, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
untitled
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1970, probably with a Siemens system 4004,
A similar motif from this series was publicized in the Ex Machina catalogue.



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 Pioneer Work #9      Untitled (Surface Ornament)

This computer generated graphic depicts a surface ornament. The ornament is created by periodically initiated random generators, which results in a checkered ornament structure.


Surface Ornament, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees: untitled (Surface Ornament)
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: around 1970, probably with a Siemens system 4004
A similar motif from the series of surface ornaments was publicized in Georg Nees: Generative Computergraphik, 1969.



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 Pioneer Work #10      Untitled (The Palace of Midas)

This motif, which has been printed in different variations, is also a texture. The irregular rectangular pattern looks like the floor texture of ancient buildings.


Computer-Grafik, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
untitled (the motif is a rotated section of The Palace of Midas)
offset lithography after plotter drawing, 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: between 1965 and 1968, with a Siemens 2002
Programmed in ALGOL and drawn on a ZUSE-Graphomat plotter
Publicized in Ex Machina catalogue (extended motif, printed red on white paper)



Nees released a similar print with the same motif, titled The Palace of Midas:


Untitled (The Palace of Midas), Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees:
untitled (The Palace of Midas)
screen print after plotter drawing, around 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: between 1965 and 1968, with a Siemens 2002 (Siemens 4004, acc. print)
Programmed in ALGOL and drawn on a ZUSE-Graphomat plotter
Publicized in Ex Machina catalogue (motif in red on white paper)



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 Pioneer Work #11      Kubo-Oktaeder


For more on this computer generated graphic, see webpage Kubo-Oktaeder.


rase-nees_kubo-oktaeder 0
Ludwig Rase, Georg Nees:
Kubo-Oktaeder
screen print for the exhibition »computer art« at Kunsthalle Hamburg 1972/73

screen print after plotter drawing, 1972

Idea: Georg Nees, Ludwig Rase
Program: Georg Nees
Generated 1968-1970 (acc. catalogue »Ex Machina«), likely in Munich, Germany.
Programmed in ALGOL for
Siemens 4004 (acc. to print) and
drawn on a ZUSE-Graphomat Z64.




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 Pioneer Work #12      Signal Ellipse

The motif of this drawing is the closing illustration in Nees´ book »Generative Computergraphik«. He describes it as a case study demonstrating the organization of an information field by a recipient into a passive background and an active foreground.


Computer-Grafik, Georg Nees 0
Georg Nees: Signal Ellipse
ZUSE Graphomat Z 90 Drawing, around 1970

Idea and program by Georg Nees
Generated: 1969
Programmed in ALGOL for
Siemens System 2002

Lit.:
Generative Computergraphik by Georg Nees, Illustration No. 52, page 288
Ex Machina Catalogue, Kunsthalle Bremen, page 439



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 Pioneer Work #13      Art ex machina




Georg Nees 0
untitled -
from the portfolio »Art Ex Machina«
silk screen print, 1972





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 The Main Frames


Nees programmed his early graphics on Siemens systems, he also worked for Siemens as a computer scientist, e.g. on architectural projects. Siemens system 2002 was sold between 1959 and 1966, but continued to be used for many more years. The Siemens 4004 system originated from a Cooperation with Radio Corporation of America (RCA). RCA had developed main frames, which were sold in the series SIEMENS 4004 in Germany (see Computermuseum München).


Siemens Mitteilungen 0
Sculpture 1 by Georg Nees on the cover of the Siemens magazine, December 1969.


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 Artist´s Profile

Georg Nees (1926-2016)
Born 1926 in Nuremberg, Germany, studied mathematics, physics and philosophy in Erlangen and in Stuttgart, Germany. As a student with Max Bense first exhibition of computer art in Germany. Ph.D. in 1969 in »Generative Computergraphik«.

Watch on You Tube: Georg Nees at ZKM (in German) and an interview with Nees and other pioneers. On Wikipedia: Georg Nees


Many »pioneer works« shown above have been on display in major computer art exhibitions, e.g. in:
»computer art. nees rase.«, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany, 29.9.1972 - 14.1.1973
Georg Nees – The Great Temptation. Early generative computer graphics. ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany, 2006
»Ex Machina – Frühe Computergrafik bis 1979« Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, 2007
»bit international. [Nove] tendencije. Computer und visuelle Forschung Zagreb 1961-1973« Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Austria, 2007
»bit international« ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany, 2008-2009

and e.g. publicized in:
Generative Computergraphik. Georg Nees (1969)
Computer-Grafik Galerie. Herbert W. Franke (1984)
Ex Machina – Frühe Computergrafik bis 1979. Hrsg. Wulf Herzogenrath und Barbara Nierhoff-Wielk (2007)
A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine and the Computer´s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International. Hrsg. Margit Rosen (2011)
Computergraphik - Computerkunst. Herbert W. Franke (1985)
see also Links & Books
The information given on the prints above, like printing technique, year of creation etc., is to the best of our knowledge but without engagement.

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Copyright Heike Werner
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