Holger Lippmann is a pioneer of net art, an original gangster within in the NFT space. His medium is the computer, he works with codes. Too many projects have been created to list them all here. We love his AR, VR and immersive work!
hi, my name is holger lippmann and i began using computers and coding not long after my studies of visual art. i’ve spent most of my waking hours for the last twenty years coding, programming and creating digital and generative art.
Holger Lippmann is a pioneer of net art, an original gangster within in the NFT space. His medium is the computer, he works with codes. Too many projects have been created to list them all here. We love his AR, VR and immersive work!
art historian and visionary
WaVyScApE is my most anticipated collection in this entire space. I hope to own a few and have one hang in massive frame for my music studio. I truly believe, from the bottom of my heart, this collection will draw so many new people in. Simply enamored by the outputs.
When I first started making generative art, Holger Lippmann was one of the very few existing artists that had a body of generative work that deeply resonated with me. He was truly an inspiration for me, especially the way he handles colors, and it's amazing to see new work from him now!
lives and works in Wandlitz c/o Berlin
2022 | Brightmoments Gallery Opening Berlin Auguststrasse, (Group)
2022 | NFT-MAI Munich
2022 | Berlin Collection Brightmoments – Kraftwerk Berlin
2019 | “box-modulation”, large video screen installation @ LaLaPort Yokohama, Japan (curated by FRAMED)
2019 | AIDAnova staircase installation with 10 large scale animations and 150 prints
(curated by SAMUELIS & BAUMGARTE)
october 11-14.2018 | Shandong Culture Fair, China
2018 | “seagrass”, large video screen installation @ dong gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (curated by FRAMED)
2017 | UNPAINTED platform digital art @ Biennale Venice
2017 | “DATA-VIZ-BGHM”, data-viz animation for BGHM, Mainz (curated by SAMUELIS & BAUMGARTE)
2017 | “e-pastel”, large video screen installation @ Wilshire Grand, Los Angeles, USA (curated by standardvision)
18.02. – 21.02.2016 | UNPAINTED lab 3.0, , Munich
15.02 – 18.03.2015 | 3DPrint2Brass Casting Workshop @ smilebrass, Banpong, Thailand
13.08. – 13.09. 2015 | Prizewinner @ ITAF – teletextart LINK
May – July 2015 | AUTOMATIC-0 | Espacio Byte, Argentina, (group) LINK
23.05 – 21.06. 2015 | LANDSCAPES 3.0 | Galerie Alte Schule, Ahrenshoop LINK
14.10. – 20.10. 2014 | Mince pies #5 | gallery Wolkenbank, Rostock, (group)
17.01 – 20.01. 2014 | förderkoje @ UNPAINTED media art fair, Munich LINK
21.11. – 08.12. 2013 | Line Drift Loci | Campel Works, London (group) LINK
06.09. – 29.09. 2013 | IKONO On Air Festival LINK
21.07. – 24.08. 2013 | DATA DADA | gallery Wolkenbank, Rostock (solo) LINK
30.03. – 28.04. 2013 | Kunsthalle Kühlungsborn, together with Udo Rathke LINK
26.10 – 07.11. 2012 | Plüschow Lounge, Castle Plüschow, artists of the gallery wolkenbank (group) LINK
27.10. 2012 | Kunst Heute, Kunstkaten Ahrenshoop, computer installation
01.06 – 30.08. 2012 | Galerie Alte Schule, Ahrenshoop (group)
11.09 – 14.01. 2012 | mince pies2 | galerie wolkenbank, Rostock (group) LINK
05.09 – 25.09. 2011 | b/w borderline galleria espoonsilta, Espoo/Helsinki / Finnland (group)
04.09 – 09.10. 2011 | just printed | Galerie module2 Dresden (group)
22.05. – 14.08. 2011 | Menschenbilder | „Grosse Kunstschau Worpswede“, selection of works of the contemporary art collection
of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, (collection)
31.06. – 01.07. 2011 | Leistungsschau | Kunsthalle Berlin, (group)
17.06. – 18.06. 2011 | Der Lauf Der Dinge | long night of videoart, gallery Ruhnke, Potsdam, (group)
13.03. – 23.04. 2011 | poetic justice & digital rights | gallery Wolkenbank, Rostock, (solo) LINK LINK
19.12. – 22.01. 2011 | mince pies 1 | galerie wolkenbank, Rostock (group) LINK
24.09. – 11.04. 2010 | OHNE UNS! | Art & alternative culture in Dresden before und after ‘89, Dresden, (group)
19.12. – 30.01. 2009 | dasistmeinsunddasistdeins | gallery wolkenbank, Rostock, (group)
01.01. – 01.01. 2009 | Algebra Azalea | Studio Schauplatz Second Life, (solo)
23.05. – 21.06. 2008 | Masterplan | Abel Neue Kunst, Berlin, (group)
31.05. – 01.06. 2008 | Kunstinvasion | Kunsthalle Berlin, (group)
26.05. – 06.06. 2008 | Take These Flowers | gallery Kasten, Mannheim, projectspace 4, (solo)
05.02. – 08.03. 2008 | BEYOND THE SCREEN | [DAM] Berlin, (group) LINK LINK
19.02. – 20.04. 2008 | FILE | electronic languge international festival | Porto Alegre, Brazil, (group)
11.03. – 16.03. 2008 | SHARE / Manufacturing | Festival of art and digital culture Torino, Italy, (group)
22.11. – 24.11. 2007 | CIMATICS | AV Festival Brussels | participation with spectr|a|um windowfront installation, (festival) LINK LINK
19.10. – 02.12. 2007 | Achtung Sprengarbeiten | NGBK Berlin, (group)
14,10. – 10.11. 2007 | matter of substraction | media ruimte bruxelles, (BE), (solo) LINK
01.11. – 30.12. 2007 | Auflösung der Architektur | Goethe Institut Rotterdam (NL) | in collaboration with Alekos Hofstetter
30.08. – 01.09. 2007 | Spectr|a|um | windowfront installation of Dexia Tower, Bruxelles, in Collaboration mit lab[au] LINK
07.08. – 15.09. 2007 | DIGITAL PAINTING | LUMAS Berlin II – Fasanenstraße and LUMAS München (group)
24.01. – 03.02. 2007 | Liquid Space | clubtransmediale.07, Berlin (festival/performance) LINK LINK
25.01. – 10.03. 2007 | META REFRESH | [DAM] Berlin, (solo) LINK
01.10. – 03.12. 2006 | FLOWERS | flowers in contemporary art | Kunstmuseum Heidenheim /H. Voigt Galery, (group) LINK
30.09. 2006 | NUIT BLANCHE | Nuit Blanche Art Festival, Toronto, Ca | in collaboration with Alekos Hofstetter, (festival)
31.08. – 10.09. 2006 | OUT OF DISASTER | Brotfabrik Berlin | in collaboration with Alekos Hofstetter, (group)
20.05. 2006 | Toronto Project | showroom west-germany, Berlin | in collaboration with Alekos Hofstetter
08.03. – 06.09. 2006 | toronto project | Goetheinstitut Toronto (CA) | in collaboration with Alekos Hofstetter
11.10. – 16.10. 2005 | UNSOUND | Krakow (PL) | festival for art, music and new media, (festival)
23.11. – 24.11. 2005 | todaysART | Den Haag (NL), (festival) LINK
14.02. – 16.03. 2005 | run into flowers | [DAM] Berlin, (solo)
25.01. – 04.02. 2005 | minimal garden | clubtransmediale05, Berlin, (festival) LINK
21.01. – 13.02. 2005 | total kaputt | ABEL neue Kunst, Berlin, (group)
09.10. – 21.01. 2004 | TRIPTYQUE | Abbaye du Ronceray, Angers (F) | artists of [DAM] Berlin, (group)
02.11. – 30.12. 2004 | Digital Move | [DAM] Berlin presents 3 artists at the Sony Center Berlin
21.10. – 24.10. 2004 | minimal garden | [DAM] Berlin, (solo)
01.07. – 03.07. 2004 | contact europe | Cafe Moskau Berlin, (happening)
16.06. – 21.6. 2004 | Art Unlimited | ART BASEL, gallery Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, (fair)
05.04. – 26.5. 2004 | Glue Präsentiert | Galerie Glue Berlin, (group)
29.11. – 17.01. 2004 | du und dein garten | Kunsthaus Erfurt, (group)
13.09. – 11.10. 2003 | IN IMAGES WE TRUST | gallery Silberblau Berlin, (solo)
28.06. 2003 | simple chaos | Backup Festival, Bauhaus University Weimar, (festival)
25.01. 2003 | play global | live visuals @ clubtransmediale04, (festival)
19.09. – 28.09. 2002 | Werkzeuge und Einheiten | Berlin Frankfurter Allee 3, (group)
2002 | POPULAR – animations 4 electronic music | “the top 50”, ZKM Karlsruhe, (prize)
2002 | Bildercodes | international media art award, interview and samples of www.POPULAR.de | broadcast at;
arte, SWR, SFdrs, RTVslo, 3sat
02.10. – 07.10. 2001 | Digitale Tapeten | Art-Forum, Berlin, presented by kunstmarkt.com, (fair/solo)
2001 | virtual ateliers | Kunst Akademie, Dresden | virtual reality projekt | in collaboration with Olaf Holzapfel
2000 | a ourssm | Kunst Akademie, Dresden | in collaboration with Olaf Holzapfel, (group)
1999 | DID, das kollektive ICH | Kunst Akademie, Dresden | in collaboration with Olaf Holzapfel, (group)
1999 | neo geometrische kunst | ART Basel-Media Art, gallery Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, (fair)
21.05. – 24.05. 1998 | ACHSE3zu01 | Kunst Akademie, Dresden | in collaboration with Olaf Holzapfel, (group)
1998 | Sächsische Kunstausstellung | Schloss Dresden, (group)
1997 | CD-ROM Preis | cynet art, Dresden, (prize)
1994 | Kunst in Deutschland | Kunst- und Ausstellungsraum Bonn, (group)
02.10. – 06.11. 1994 | export import | gallery Ränitzgasse, Dresden, (group)
19.04. – 17.06. 1993 | Sentimentalismo | gallery Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, (solo)
24.08. – 18.09. 1993 | Grüß Gott | gallery Ingrid Haar, Mönchengladbach, (solo)
05.10. – 01.11. 1992 | Skulpturen Projekt Gotha | Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha, (group)
29.08. – 27.09. 1992 | Vier II | Leonhardi Museum, Dresden, (group)
22.03. – 29.03. 1992 | Mathematik und Melancholie | gallery Ingrid Haar, Mönchengladbach, (solo)
03.03. – 18.03. 1992 | Fern – Seh – Raum | gallery Autogen, Dresden, (solo)
1991 | Vom Balkon Europas | Künstler der gallery Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden im Krefelder, (group)
26.10. – 30.11. 1991 | Sans Titre | Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, (solo)
1990 | Sommeratelier | Messehallen Hannover, (workshop/group)
1989 | Mülltonnen-Projekt | Brühlsche Terasse Dresden | in collaboration with Thomas Reichstein
1989 | B.S.I.G | Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, (solo)
in the early 90s, during my 2 year residency in new york i used to go into clubs and bars around the East village. once entered a small place with electronic music playing and animations beamed onto the wall. i couldn’t stop staring at these into-each-other-morphing structures. fractals! this was completely new to me, and i so was stunned! …waited till the end and talked to the couple who made it. they told me something about the apple-II computer and some software, but i barely understood anything.
it was a pretty cold winter and i lived in williamsburg, so i went over the bridge and had this amazing starry city night around and inside me. i must have mumbled something like: i have to go for it, have to find out, have to start anew again… the next days, i talked to my girlfriend, and she encouraged me to call around at computer departments. maybe someone would have a clue.
the first call i made was the institute of technology: “hold on, i’ll give you the art department,” and then there was this guy, “yeah, fractals! so you studied art in germany and want to learn something about computer graphics and fractals? come by next monday.” i showed him my catalogs from galerie-gebr-lehmann.de, “this is bauhaus!, i love bauhaus!”. he offered me an internship.
so i started working on an IBM workstation, somewhere in midtown, somewhere between the 30th and 40 floor, in front of 2 large workstations, one wall side completely glassed in, in the middle of all these thousands of block buildings. i stood extremely next to me; “where are you!?, what are you doing here!?” it exceeded my wildest dreams.
over the years, working with code has not only become a practical technique, but also a factor that determines the aesthetics itself. or it was even the main reason, when i started with code, using a formal language and principle that’s based on algorithmic functions, representing mathematical processes and simulations. which leave behind a kind of the machine’s own characteristic design language, representing our culture in its essentials. to me it also offers sort of a meta-level of looking at/into nature.
i’d call myself a code minimalist. fascinated by bauhaus, constructivism and minimalism, i developed many if not most of my processing apps exclusively with basic shapes like circles, squares and lines. sometimes i caught myself doing e.g. programming a shadow only to take it home again after all, since it seemed to be tipping over stylistically somehow. such as. also in the “flower code” work series, where i developed the blossoms with detailed petal shapes, only to turn everything back again to only work with circles and lines, because i was horrified to realize that it immediately became naturalistic or even kinda cheesy, not what i wanted…
Holger, tomorrow is your second drop with Metadibs® The first one , the DATA-DONUT series was sold out immediately. Tell us a little bit of the DATA-DONUT concept. What is it about?
HL: The first DATA Donut series was created under the impression of a very old Dos defragmentation software which I was used to work with in the 1990s. There was a table of squares demonstrating which hard drive sector is repaired or broken. At this time I thought this is really the sort of technical visualization I liked. I worked quite often with those types of early computer system visualizations. This was at the same time technical, minimal and funny.
In 2021 I finally got the square table bent to a disc shape, leaving a hole in the middle, colors were added and different motion patterns coded in Processing, this then was the DATA-DONUT.
What can we expect from the second drop? What is different?
HL: I guess there should be said more about the circle itself. I really loved working with circles since I remember. It’s like the most perfect and most beautiful form I can think of. It’s so even, well-balanced on one hand and so full of chaos on the other hand, when you see it in the mathematical way: the connection between circumference and diameter; Pi is completely unsolved. Is there a pattern, is there an end ? What is this? This is like the most chaotic mathematical riddle/number we have and it is in a circle. This is amazing and says much about everything.
So the second DROP which I grouped in three parts — disc, donut and star — is based on a very different idea. In this case it’s not about defragmentation. It’s an algorithm that I developed from the Pie chart diagram and it’s about radial curves and restructuring with data input building like a painting out of it.
Let’s look at your career as an artist. You first studied sculpture. When did you decide to create digital art and why? Was it passion, was it interest in technologies, was it energy?
HL: My artist career started at school already, when my school teacher for drawing classes liked my work and promoted me, sending me to contests and putting my stuff up in the school building and telling me that I should apply to art school. So she gave me self-confidence and an exciting idea for my life.
Also some of my family members have already painted. My father when he was young, the brother of my grandmother and my sister…
So I started studying in evening schools, then at the art academy in Dresden and earned my diploma.
What technical means did you have at your disposal at the beginning and with which tools do you work today?
HL: 1992 it happened that I moved — with my American girlfriend at that time — to Brooklyn, New york. I’ve been calling around and some guy from the Institute of Technology offered me an internship at the art department. So I started working on an IBM machine with a software called Painter, it was great. I loved to construct things with computational aid.
At the same time the electronic music scene was gaining energy and I loved to dance at techno parties and was listening to this music excessively.
When I moved to Berlin in 1995, I got a studio place at the Tacheles Kunsthaus where I met artists and musicians. Inspired by this, I charted a radical path and started to work with computers exclusively, knowing that I wanted to make art in the same way that the music I was listening to was made. I spent another year learning about Multimedia Design at Cimdata Berlin. Since then, my fascination has evolved to working with software and internet based networks. I’ve never felt any reason to move back to paints and traditional artistic work.
There was some great and sophisticated software that time we worked with, like 3ds, AnimaterPro and later Macromedia Flash.
With Flash I started coding, later switched to Processing which became a love relationship. One could realize ideas from scratch. Over the time you’d develop your own code classes which were reused and so on. The feeling you were building your house just with your hands was great and not being dependent on proprietary software anymore.
What do the NFT market mean to you? Is it a new artistic medium or just a new system for distributing art?
HL: Many things; the crypto currency movement out of pgp, Napster, Torrent and all this we’ve been through. It’s a very great moment when many things suddenly come together.
Humans are so playful and curious for new ways. Do we want to make an art sale contract with a lawyer for digital art? Of course not! We figure out new exciting ways, building more complex systems, systems that replace the old ones and are simply better for our present and future.
I find the most beautiful thing about the NFT market, besides its ingenuity and complexity, is the energy. A huge wave of energy breaks down on us and it’s about art! What could be nicer than experiencing this as an artist!?
There was a time when artists were seen as outsiders, as troublemakers. At present, we are moving towards a creative economy. The profession of the artist is more in demand than ever. Do you feel that?
HL: Yes, especially in connection with technologies like VR, 3D printing, interactivity. It’s becoming so unlimited…
Some think that AI could replace the artist, but it’s more like the opposite.
Yes and also still troublemakers! I mean crypto is making more trouble than punk and flower power together, or not? I’m sure it’s a revolution and artists are more in demand than ever.
Last question: How fast is the Metaverse coming? Will we soon be able to view your art in our digital bedrooms soon?
HL: 20 years ago when I was in Second Life, I had a show in a virtual gallery there, met some very nice people that were modeling and selling objects with Linden Dollar. It’s such a long time ago, 18 years, and not much has changed.
Yes my work was already in digital bedrooms.
Honestly, I had to quit my Second Life life when I became a father because it was so obsessive and time consuming… and not necessarily very creative or productive for me, but a great experience that time anyway.
Dr. Annette Doms, Head of Curation
Metadibs® is a multichannel, eco-friendly, all-in-one NFT platform with whitelabel solutions. Metadibs® builds bridges between the art world and crypto culture and believes in the decentralized peer-to-peer system as a new form of mutual appreciation between artists and collectors. We believe in a hybrid future that allows art to be experienced physically AND virtually.
DigitalFruit is an interview series from Adafruit showcasing some of our favorite digital fine artists from around the world. As we begin this new decade with its rapidly changing landscape, we must envision our path through a different lens. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature many innovative perspectives and techniques that will inspire our maker community to construct a bold creative frontier. The only way is forward.
where are you based?
I’m based in Wandlitz, a suburb of Berlin
Tell us about your background?
As a teenager I knew I wanted to be a painter one day.
I started painting in the attic, did evening courses, studied at the Art Academy Dresden and received a degree in Sculpture. From there, I studied as a post graduate in Stuttgart and Paris and later moved to Brooklyn, New York.
What inspires your work?
In a New York club nightclub, I discovered computer animated fractals for the first time. I was so fascinated by this new art form- I knew I wanted to develop a greater connection, so I phoned around and was finally offered an internship at the Computer Graphics Department at the New York Institute of Technology.
I moved back to Germany in 1994 and settled in Berlin- right in the middle of the electronic music boom. Inspired by this, I charted a radical path and started to work with computers exclusively, knowing that I wanted to make art in the same way that the music I was listening to was made. I spent another year learning about Multimedia Design at Cimdata Berlin. Since then, my fascination has evolved to working with software and internet based networks. I’ve never felt any reason to move back to paints and traditional artistic work.
Electronic music, and specifically, artists such as Aphex Twin, greatly inspired me. These days, Nature is my main inspiration.
What are you currently working on?
Describe your process
and what tools you like to use
Over the years, I’ve literally wandered through many different techniques; 3D modeling, 2D animation, working with all sorts of different software, until I finally got more and more into programming via Macromedia Lingo, Flash Actionscript and then finally arriving at Processing around 2005.
Processing opened up a whole new world of basic and minimalistic studies. In 2006, I started seriously working with Processing and I haven’t taken up any other methods ever since.
Because I prefer to work with basic form elements, programming with simple code supports my concerns about image and video development very well.
Deep down inside I feel like a painter, so I think my work should be best described in the traditional context of painting. My focus lies on the development of an image and color composition.
Sometimes it’s like coming home and feeling full of an expression that, out of its own energy, is longing to become materialized. Even in that moment when I would start “painting”, I wouldn’t have any direct image up on my inner screen. Maybe that wouldn’t be fun. Just as when you are compelled to go onto the dance floor when you hear good music, you don’t exactly know what’s next… I like to compare my work process to dancing or improvising music. It’s like the process of developing a nearly finished form/composition throughout a performance or play. For me, it’s the way in which evolving form elements start organizing and, in the best case- combine to form a fascinating image.
Nevertheless, the implication of algorithmic structuring, by mathematical visualization of forms and behaviors, has a basic priority in my work- to me, it offers a meta-level way of looking at/into nature.
Landscape-like work, based on a simple Perlin noise structure or tree like structure using a recursive algorithm, has fascinated me for a long time to this day.
Preferring simple minimal code basics and fine-tuning them over and over again in order to ultimately create an image that has – to me – that certain something.
What does your workplace or studio look like?
Do you work in silence or listen to music while you work?
About 18 years ago, my girlfriend and I decided to move out of Berlin to an area with lakes and forests, north of the city. During that time, I was lucky enough to sell some of my works in larger editions through Lumas, which helped us to realize our dream of having our own living and working studio space.
As a family of four, we enjoy the quiet and surrounding nature and a space to live and work.
My studio is a 70 square meter ground floor space, where I have 3- 3D printers, 1 laser cutter, a pigment printer and a lot of music hardware. This all feels like paradise to me.
Lately, I’ve been making experimental sounds myself, using mainly Native Instruments hardware.
How has technology shaped your creative vision?
During my childhood and youth, I did everything possible with my hands; drawing, painting, working with wood, stone and so on, all possible materials and techniques…
Now when I look back, I see that period as a logical progression to my interest in computer technology.
I don’t use computers as a kind of aid for something that could just as well be produced in an analog or traditional way, instead, I take the features of the programmed process as an aesthetic basis. That’s what I like and what I believe in as an expression of our time.
Any tips for someone interested in getting started in the digital art form?
I’m convinced that coding with Processing would be a great start.
And, despite all of the unlimited possibilities of apps, presets and plugins- keeping it simple and going with an idea…
Where do you see generative and digital art heading in the future?
With 19th century art, the focus was to depict nature in order to understand it. With 20th century art, nature was examined in all possible ways. 21st century art aims to simulate more complex processes- Generative Art.
where does holger lippmann come from and how did he get into art?
in my parents’ house, there were oil paintings from my father and great uncle hanging around. my sister, who was 3 years older, also drew a lot and well. i remember how my father once explained to me, when i asked for gold paint, that you don’t paint gold with gold paint at all and demonstrated to me how gold is actually painted. that really fascinated me. i painted a polished brass candlestick and later on a glass bottle and water glasses.
in school, drawing lessons were pretty much my only favorite subject. my drawing teacher delegated me to district competitions on behalf of our village school and sent me to a drawing & painting workshop for a whole week in the 10th grade. that’s where a lot of impulses came from, especially contact with other young people who were painting, first discussions about career aspirations, etc…
at home, we had a wooden mask hanging on the wall. i was about 11 years old when i carved this mask in my parents’ carpentry store. a little later, a customer wanted to buy it, and another wanted a mask like it. i ended up carving umpteen masks like this, on order, each one a little different. in the beginning, i traded them for matchbox cars, and later sold them for 50 marks. that was a completely unplanned start to my sculpting career.
at the age of 17, i visited a painting circle in chemnitz. once, we visited a well-known painter together, which i think was one of my most relevant experiences of that time. everything was full of pictures and colors, extreme disorder and yet everything was somehow sublime, and this unworldly guy! the way he talked and what he radiated… that made a strong impression on me and, not least, gave my imagination about my very own life a kind of start.
painting and sculpture were always connected for me. finally i studied sculpture because it promised to discover more new territory. the world of clay, plaster, stone, metal and all kinds of experiments was very promising.
evening study, study, meisterschüler, scholarship travels and work stays… everything was good, excellent, even dreamlike, a bit like something out of an adventure novel. even the turnaround and the anarchic time afterwards were somehow ingenious.
how did the change from sculpture to digital art come about?
the turnaround time stirred up a lot of things that were perhaps never thought or planned before. in my case, it came at exactly the right time – at the end of my studies.
together with the lehmann brothers and 3 other painters, we founded the (illegal) “lehmann brothers gallery” during the last days of the gdr. as soon as the wall came down, we were the center of interest for the world. the offers came pouring in: additional studies at the ak stuttgart, travel scholarship from the state of baden-würtemberg, working stay in hannover…
frank lehmann went to cologne as an intern to the zwirner gallery and brother ralf continued to run the gallery in dresden. for us artists in the gallery, this was a perfect constellation. many things came out of it; travels, exhibition participations and connections of all kinds. in 1992, i was lucky enough to get a scholarship to paris, where i then spent a year.
what happened to me backstage at that time is still best described as “culture shock”. you don’t notice it so directly at the moment, but when i look back now and see everything i’ve done, it looks as if i’ve worked through half a century of cultural history, just as quickly and rudimentarily as a foetus goes through philogenesis.
after paris and a short stopover in dresden, i moved to brooklyn, new york.
i was on the road a lot in galleries and exhibitions. after a year i had a low point, there seemed to be no point in doing anything anymore, everything was already there x times.
many evenings and nights i was usually out and about in the east-village. and there, in some club, suddenly there were computers and young people projecting computer-generated videos. that really hit home with me. i stayed until the end and stared at the screen with fascination. around 3 o’clock i walked home across williamsburgbridge and a monologue ran in me; you have to do that! you have to start completely new again! yes! if you have courage, that’s exactly what you want! …
i knew it as much as maybe i did when i was 16 and wanted to be a painter.
after a few phone calls i got an offer for an internship at the institute of technology, where i could work with a so called “painting-software”. it was a start. but i knew that besides the technology, i mainly needed my old introverted studio-quietness to really get ahead. so back to the familiar home and put out my feelers…
and as it often happens in such moments – everything falls into place as if by magic – i met thomas forkert. many talks, many new things, until we finally assembled my first 486 from parts on thomas’ kitchen table.
we spent a lot of time together in front of this 15 inch monitor and i learned a lot. that was in 1995.
what is generative art and how is it technically implemented?
as the term implies, images and animations are generated – as in my case, for example.
but to answer this question in context i would like to go a bit further.
so the computer was my new tool and in order not to get lost in the jungle of almost unlimited possibilities and distractions, i asked myself the question; what exactly do you want to do? the answer was 3d! at that time there were already some relatively sophisticated 3d programs running on such a home pc. 3ds4 from autodesk i found ingenious from the beginning. i think i spent 4 full years working intensively with this software.
later i combined single renderings and animations – with the first programming language i learned: lingo – to an interactive cd-rom, which won the cd-rom award of comtecart in 1997.
besides 3d modeling i have always been engaged in 2d graphics and related programs. i think it was between 1997-98 when an unknown young company launched a 2d software “splash” (later flash), with which vector-based and thus very small and internet capable graphics and animations were possible. i could now publish animations via internet. that was revolutionary!
for many years i worked exclusively with flash and the programming language “actionscript”.
the penetration of the internet and flash developed rapidly. there was a more and more complex programming layer and web integration gradually became a standard.
with flash based works like “popular” and “minimal garden”, i was involved in international festivals like todaysart, file, unsound, ctm, … among others.
on the occasion of clubtransmediale 2005 i had the opportunity to participate in a one-week “processing” workshop. processing was in a way the new flash. open source, developed by artists/designers (john maeda, casey reas, ben fry) for artists/designers, based on a simple programming environment.
at this point the “generative” character, much more comprehensive than in flash, started to assert itself in my approach.
i started to develop small programs to generate images, to delete them, to change the code again, to generate them again and so on… here and there coincidences are used or recognized, scattering with noise algorithms or swarm behavior is explored…
a process of fine-tuning a painting machine, which then generates output, as i imagine it. few results are selected, many are deleted again. this subjective selection process again plays an important role.
the basic principle of this is actually not so new; the dadaists already tore up photos or colored papers about a hundred years ago, let the snippets fall onto backgrounds, and then photographed certain random constellations…
of course, i could then control the falling speed of the individual pieces of paper individually, or use a cluster algorithm, …etc. it doesn’t stop being fun!
how has digitalisation influenced your artistic aesthetic?
what does the location mean to you?
with the networking in the www, communities emerged, people got to know each other, exchanged information and code snippets and suddenly there was a new promising platform next to the traditional gallery, with forums and portfolios in social networks and a lot of young vibrating life, a new world – in the hegelian sense the third nature.
as a logical and consequential development, the internet eventually became my main basis for publishing and marketing.
for me, the artistic aesthetic was minimalist from the beginning, based on bauhaus. the computer should not pretend to be a paintbrush, i found that repulsive from the start.
just as i was fascinated by kraftwerk’s music as a child, and later by electronic music in particular, i also wanted, following a fundamental approach, to let the aesthetics that are very much part of the digital medium be an element of form and to use it consciously, …as a naturally developing element of expression of a digitalized culture.
but not only techno…
when i started to work seriously on images again in about 2002-3, there was not only enthusiasm; “do animation again!”, no, i think i knew what i was doing.
it also had to do with the fact that my extensive time in the techno world and in night clubs, with our first child, had come to a good end at a good time and we, our young family, moved out of berlin into the nature of brandenburg. i was intoxicated by the lushness and wildness of the vegetation, the forests, lakes and clouds, the melodic landscapes and the beauty of the grasses in particular. we roamed through forests and meadows, gradually exploring the area around our new home, near wandlitz.
so on the one hand the electronic aesthetics merged with the more and more nature-related themes, like landscape or plants, to a new artistic aesthetics.
sometimes it seemed to me as if i had brought together the best of everything; nature and technology, at one creative point. two apparent opposites balancing each other; without internet i couldn’t live here! or; without nature in a big city – unthinkable!
so here i am for quite some time now, developing software to create images and animations.
images are like heikus; short, concrete, poetically condensed… in their limitedness and silence all the more challenging in a world of unlimited possibilities and endless distractions.
i think it is very difficult to make good pictures.
internet based networks offer information, communication, education, presentation, promotion & publicity and last but not least marketing, … and of course entertainment.
we are a family, without tv, with several computers, where nevertheless books are read with pleasure. the proximity to an airport and a good school are more important for us than a big city.
interview Thomas Forkert – E-FORK, august 2018
Holger Stark: Holger, we met during the 80’s at the Art Academy Dresden. From todays point of view, do you happen to look back sometimes a bit longing to the smell of wood
and the plaster dust of your sculptor’s studio?
Holger Lippmann: Not really. Today we live close to the woods and fields within beautiful nature with two little kids and much space to perform and experiment for young and old.
In addition to that, our nice studio with computers, printers, software and networks…, simly the best of everything! The study at the Art Academy was good, but not to cling on it.
H.S.: This performance at that time, at the Brühlsche Terrasse – the balcony of europe – a tumbeling trashcan pyramid, was that your first project to realize a dynamically
generated piece of art?
H.L.: thank you!;) I experienced the art marked free zone as an exiting playground. When i now look back that long way, i notice some sort of paralles to the development of the
20th century art history to all what i did, like an embryo, which has to undergo the whole genesis in small…
H.S.: When and Where did you discover the computer for your artwork? Did you already have any idols or was it rather a playful evolution, for instance out of a technical
H.L.: 1993 i made a practical training at the New York Institut of Technology. This was mor a result out of a big crisis, some kind of cultural shock. back in these days, i felt like a
stoneage man With the pencil in my hand. I had a pretty strong urge to do something socially integrated, ..also as an artist.
H.S.: You just sold the complete edition of 100 at the LUMAS edition gallery of the work „the inner light II“ (which by the way is my favorit too), an exiting experience for you?
H.L.: To be quite honest; if i only could be just happy about it! I’m a mercyless fighter for perfection, if you ask me for the LUMAS works i imediately think of parts i could have
done better and so on… thanks for the wake up call!;)
H.S.: When i open your website, everything is in a flux, always recent works up. Globally many people see imeadiately your new works. Doesn’t digital art want no quiet, the
ripening process and surface quality like in traditional sculpting?
H.L.: I know it’s terrible. Afterwards i take many things out again. The blog is my Street, at which i locate my “open studio”. i never liked The encapsulation within artist ateliers.
When i see indian manufacturers open near on the street, i feel a kind of longing to that openness. Via the www i live this new openness, together with a whole generation.
This exactly is my ripening process! I love to lay everything open and change it again and again as part of the process.
On the other hand, I know the artist’s studios of well known names, and i know there’s alway much junk, that’s normal and has to be taken in account. the art marked stylized an
unfailable artist idol, which is simply not true and – i think – will be changed by the new www age.
H.S.: What would be if computers would die out?
H.L.: Your questions don’t go like; what is he doing with the computers, but more; what was before and will be after. …i don’t know, I am a child of the computer age.
H.S.: Shurely, I notice with captivation the development of digital art. But I’m particularely interested in the fast changes taking place in this realm. Maybe one day one can’t make
art without computers anymore?
H.L.: A good question! I don’t know if i could make fire with stones, i have never tried.
Generative Painting – Wolf Lieser [DAM] Berlin (english version first)
Holger Lippmann describes a part of his work as digital painting. What distinguishes digital painting from traditional painting on canvas or paper? We need to distinguish between
two categories of digital painting. The first includes works created on the computer with ready-made graphic tools like virtual paint brushes or pens, in something like the way
that non-digital pictures are created on paper or canvas. David Hockney’s painting of a sunflower on an i-pad is an example of this. The second category includes works using
computer generation, in which programs coded by the artist continually produce new aesthetic concepts as images or animations. Every execution of the software creates new
works within the pre-defined boundaries of the system. This process can be called generative painting.
Generative Malerei – Wolf Lieser [DAM] Berlin
Holger Lippmann bezeichnet einen Teil seines Werkes als digitale Malerei. Was unterscheidet die digitale Malerei von der traditionellen Malerei auf Leinwand oder Papier?
Grundsätzlich würde ich innerhalb der digitalen Malerei noch eine weitere Differenzierung sehen: die Arbeiten, die am Computer mit Hilfe von vorgefertigten Graphik-Werkzeugen
wie virtuellen Pinseln oder Stiften wie gemalte Bilder erstellt werden – wie es David Hockney kürzlich publikumswirksam vorgeführt hat, in dem er auf dem i-pad ein
Sonnenblumenbild malte – und die generativen Arbeiten mit dem Computer, wo mittels selbst geschriebener Programme ästhetische Konzepte als Bilder oder Animationen
kontinuierlich Werke hervorgebringen. Jedes Ausführen der Software kreiert im Rahmen des vordefinierten Systems neue Bilder. Diesen Prozess kann man als generative Malerei