13/9/65 Nr. 2 ("Klee")
This drawing is one of the most often reprinted in books and articles from the earliest phase of computer art. It belongs to the icons of this movement.
It is not known precisely, how many copies may exist. Nake probably generated about 30 or 40 copies in the years 1965 to 1967. Each one of these must be considered an original work. There is also an edition of high-quality silkscreen prints (40 copies, 1966). Additionally, about five silkscreen prints exist in different colors and on colored carton.
To generate this image, Frieder Nake was inspired by Paul Klee’s “Hauptweg und Nebenwege” of 1929. Contrary to what other algorithmic artists occasionally did by the time, namely to use an artist’s work as the starting point for a simulation, this drawing is in no respect the attempt of a simulation.
In several books and articles the image is reprinted with the title “Haupt- und Nebenwege”. This is the case even in Frieder Nake’s own book “Ästhetik als Informationsverarbeitung” (1974). However, this is wrong because Klee never used this title with both, the main road and the side roads, in plural. Nake corrected this mistake in articles since 2001.
Whereas Klee’s work is oriented more in the vertical direction, Nake’s drawing has a horizontal orientation. There are clearly identifiable horizontal bands of varying width. Their delimiting lines bend from one vertex to the next. A lot of random decisions were needed to realize this structure, which is an early example of the play with macro- and microstructural elements of composition.
On page 10 of Programm-Information PI-21 Nake indicates what the random elements are in this work. They are:
- Change of original width of the horizontal bands (at the left)
- The “buckling” of the horizontal bands as they extend from left to right, but so that they never intersect
- For each quadrilateral that is generated as part of one horizontal band, a rando decision is made as to leave it empty, or draw vertical lines, or draw triangles
- The number of signs per quadrilateral (vertical lines or triangles)
- Position of those signs per quadrilateral
- Additionally, the number of circles
- Position of each circle
- Size (radius) of the circles
Size: 50 × 50 cm
Signed lower left: Nake/ER56/Z64 (automatic signature by program)
Produced at Rechenzentrum of the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart.
drawing, b/w, computer-generated
Ink on paper (original computer-generated drawing, 1965)
Silkscreen print (serigraphy of an edition of 40, 1966)
Klee by Frieder Nake.