Gottfried Jäger - Ex-Machina: A History of Generative Art London Wednesday, July 13, 2022 | Phillips
  • Gottfried Jäger began to use the term “generative photography" to describe the photographic process as a logical, mathematical language: a “generative" system.


    The term “generative aesthetics” was defined by German philosopher Max Bense in 1965 as the deliberate and methodical production of aesthetic structures, on the basis of precisely defined (mathematical) programs with the aid of technical equipment.


    Based on this theoretical background and on Noam Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar, Jäger also views photography as a methodology of a language with a syntax and a visual grammar that is not used in an illustrative manner, but rather makes visible a structure conceived by the artist.


    In 1968 Jäger invited Kilian Breier, Hein Gravenhorst and Pierre Cordier to exhibit in Generative Fotografie at Kunsthalle Bielefeld, where he inaugurated the term and the theory of generative photography. Breier exhibited permutational photograms, Gravenhorst showed his photomechanical transformations, Cordier his chemigrams and Jäger his pinhole structures. Although at first glance one would classify these works of art as experimental photography, they differed in their precise structure. This was the beginning of one of the most fundamental movements in post-war photography.


    Jäger used a self-made camera obscura for his Lochblendenstruktur (Pinhole Structures) and created around 300 works based on this principle from 1967 to 1973. Pinhole Structures are based on rational aesthetics and information theory, all influenced by cybernetics and the ideas of constructivism. The title Lochblendenstruktur (Pinhole Structure) 3.8.14 D 3.1 refers to a program how to use the pinhole camera obscura and especially implies that this aesthetic structure could be re-created anytime by using the same instructions.


    The Pinhole Structures have been exhibited in major computer art exhibitions in the 1960s, such as Tendencije 4 at Galerija suvremene umjetnosti in Zagreb, and have become one of the most recognizable examples of computer art.



    • Provenance

      The artist


Lochblendenstruktur 3.8.14 D 3.1

titled, dated, numbered and signed 'Lochblendenstruktur 3.8.14 D 3.1, 1967 (3/3) (vintage) G. JÄGER' on the reverse
gelatin silver print
51.2 x 49.4 cm (20 1/8 x 19 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1967, this work is number 3 from an edition of 3.

Full Cataloguing

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £18,900

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Ex-Machina: A History of Generative Art

Online Auction 13-20 July 2022