Wolfgang Kiwus | i |
last name: Kiwus
first name: Wolfgang
birthday: 1939
birth-place: Celle (Germany)

Wolfgang Kiwus is a latecomer. To say that is, of course, unfair and not correct. He has been avantgarde much of his life. To say he is a latecomer makes sense only with regard to algorithmic art and only insofar as he entered the field in a style that, when viewed superficially, belonged to past times but that was also his very personal style.

Kiwus was a musician until he lost one of his thumbs which made it impossible for him to play. He became a writer of poems, radio plays, and essays, and he has remained this up to this day. But you don’t earn much money with avantgarde literature.

He became a factory worker but lost his job some day. When the unemployment people tried to turn him into some low level data processing assistant, he decided, first of all, to turn himself into a programmer all on his own and, second, to apply his newly gained skills to algorithmic art. The mixture of utmost (and self-taught) precision and expressive power sucked him into many nights of work.

In 2001 he had a large solo show at Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. About 80 of his works were acquired by the museum. There may not be many artists in the world who are similarly well represented in a large and well established museum.

In 1993, Kiwus won the first award of the PRISMA Preis für Computerkunst der Hamburgischen Kulturstiftung in the category of graphics.

His work has been shown at many occasions since. He works in large series of intricate and dense layers of patterns. Often he uses texts as his starting material. Algorithms transform the shape of the letters in such a way that we cannot decipher them anymore. However, we know and trust that the text is there, a hidden source of structure. As a fervent admirer and interpreter of Max Bense’s philosophy and aesthetics, he particularly applies his creative schemas to texts by Bense.

Over the years, Kiwus has developed a tremendously powerful and complex image processing software. As only one feature, it contains many dozens, if not hundreds of filter algorithms.


  • 1939 born in Celle, Germany
  • 1954-58 Playing the flute in Philharmonica Wroclawska orchestra, Poland
  • since 1959 living in Stuttgart, Germany
  • since 1964 free-lancer, radio plays
  • 1986 JPT Förderpreis Computer Art
  • 1989 Stipend for writing from Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg
  • 1992 Third prize for computer graphics, Karlruhe
  • 1993 First prize PRISMA Preis für Computerkunst der Hamburgischen Kulturstiftung (Computer Art Award of the Foundation for Culture, Hamburg
  • 2001 Solo show at Staatsgalerie Stuttgart: “per vorschrift und per prozess” (by prescript and by process), 6 July to 9 Sept.
  • 2004-2008 Die Algorithmische Revolution. Zur Geschichte der interaktiven Kunst. ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
  • 2006 20th Century Computer Art: Beginnings and Developments. Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo
  • 2007 Tripp & Friends. ABTart, Stuttgart
  • 2008 gegenstandslos. Gesellschaft für Kunst und Gestaltung, Bonn
enter new comment
Please, be adviced that you are entering your text into a database, not into a social network! By entering a comment, you add to the database. We much appreciate comments making us aware of errors or deficiencies.