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Hommage à Paul Klee 13/9/65 Nr.2 by Frieder Nake, 1965

This screen print was created from a plotter drawing produced using a computer program written by the artist and mathematician Frieder Nake.

It is based on the 1929 Paul Klee painting, High Roads and Byroads. Nake took Klee’s exploration of proportion and the relationship between the vertical and horizontal lines of the painting as the starting point for his algorithm. He then generated the drawing using a pen plotter, a mechanical device that holds a pen which is controlled by a computer programme. Nake was able to set the parameters of the drawing to dictate the horizontal and vertical framework. By deliberately writing random variables into the process, Nake also allowed the computer to make certain choices within a given number of options.

At this time, computers would have had no screen on which the image could be visualised. Nake underpinned the foundations of his image making with mathematical logic.

Hommage à Paul Klee 13/9/65 Nr.2, Print by Frieder Nake, 1965
Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince
Copyright Frieder Nake – Museum number: E.951-2008 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2008

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