Tomislav Mikulić - Ex-Machina: A History of Generative Art London Wednesday, July 13, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Elips is my earliest plotter drawing, created in 1971. It shows the moiré effect as a result of an experiment with overlapping the patterns. But this drawing is much more important to me; not only because it was using the Elips* (my first subroutine module I wrote in the Fortran computer programming language), but also because Elips was a successful test of my unconventional way of drawing a bunch of ellipses. The work is a result of saving an enormous amount of processor time by storing a precalculated array of data. I calculated the values of coordinates of the points placed along a circle by a rather demanding processing of sine and cosine functions, but only once. Then I manipulated those coordinates about a couple of hundred times using only very simple math functions like multiplying, adding and subtracting for scaling and shifting each ellipse. I was so proud when I showed my professor of programming in Fortran (Mr. Alfred Zepic) how a processor of computer (IBM 1130) was waiting for the plotter (IBM 1627) to finish drawing one ellipse so it can immediately continue drawing the next one. Previously, it was usually the other way around; the plotter would wait several seconds until the computer calculated a new set of coordinates. My subroutine provided almost 10 times faster drawing. The Elips is a diagram of my programming achievement, besides being a visually appearing item. —Tomislav Mikulić


    *The names of variables and subroutines in Fortran were restricted to 5 letters only. Therefore, I named it "Elips" which is not misspelled, but shortened to comply. Soon after, I wrote a subroutine adding a rotation of ellipses. It saved even more time by storing precalculated values. It was used to draw a set of the Rotation artwork also shown at the iconic Tendencies 5 exhibition in Zagreb in 1973.



    • Provenance

      The artist

    • Exhibited

      Zagreb, Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, Tendencies 5, 1 June – 1 July 1973



signed 'Mikulić' lower right, titled 'ELIPS' lower center and with the artist's blindstamp lower left
computer-generated graphic ink on Calcomp perforated plotter paper
30.5 x 42 cm (12 x 16 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1971, this work is a unique variant from the series of 5.

Full Cataloguing

£3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for £3,276

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Ex-Machina: A History of Generative Art

Online Auction 13-20 July 2022