Herbert W. Franke
Relief Math Art
ABOUT HERBERT W. FRANKE
Known as a universal genius, Herbert W. Franke (1927-2022) is the forefather of computer art, co-founder of Ars Electronica, mastermind of the Metaverse, and science-fiction writer. He spent his entire career bridging the worlds of art and science.
EXPANDED.ART represents the estate of Herbert W. Franke.
ABOUT MATH ART
In 1980, Herbert W. Franke began a fifteen-year collaboration with the programmer Horst Helbig at an institute of the German Aerospace Center. They examined mathematical formulas and disciplines in relation to their aesthetic dimension, which resulted in the series MATH ART. The results of their research at the intersection of science and art reveal a fascinating universe of mathematics that has been transformed into images with a stunning variety of forms that is strikingly reminiscent of Pop Art.
Herbert W. Franke was always looking for known or newly discovered mathematical principles in order to use them for his experiments in art. It was clear to Franke that it was the artist's job to examine new technologies with their great social significance for their creative potential. Because they should "not only be reserved for technocrats, commerce, or even the military". From the beginning, in the 1950s, Herbert W. Franke saw mathematics, with its abstract world of formulas, as the essence of the visual arts. While he saw the artist in the role of the analytical creator who creates structures using mathematical methods, he assigned the computer the task of modulating these principles of order through varying random processes. Franke, therefore, saw the computer in the role of a partner early on.
The color served to code certain structural elements and was of fundamental importance. The computer system at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, which was powerful at the time, had integrated output equipment with which the digitally developed image worlds were transferred directly to high-resolution photo film. On his own DOS PC, Franke created the preparatory work for the captivatingly vivid aesthetics of this mathematical investigation.
In the beginning, there were algebraic formulas for three-dimensional spatial areas: The three dimensions were converted into two-dimensional landscapes, whereby the "contour lines," i.e., the z-axis of the room, were color-coded with specially developed color grids. Starting with algebraic landscapes, the two worked their way through a wide variety of disciplines via wave functions, Fourier transformations, broken dimensions, and logical connections, until they finally visualized complex and irrational numbers as well as random processes and logical connections with their method.