Yoshiyuki Abe is an early practitioner of algorithmic art who created his first pieces using custom graphics software in the early 1990s. His work is characterized by the use of stochastic processes that allow for “artistic serendipity.” He is a figure of reference in the algorithmic and electronic art scene in Japan.


Website of Yoshiyuki Abe:

Gunma (Japan), 1947

Yoshiyuki Abe earned his B.E. in Photographic Engineering at Chiba University and later on a Master’s degree in Arts and Science at the Open University in Japan. From 1972 to 1983 he worked as an assistant director of feature films (working with directors Nagisa Oshima and Hiromichi Horikawa, among others), sound recording engineer, and director of short films. In 1980 he learned CAD and the programming languages Pascal and C, later own developing his own graphics software. He became interested in algorithmic art and particularly in stochastic processes, creating compositions based on a series of random variables that remind of bacterial growth. In the early 1990s, he began producing inkjet prints in series such as Stochastica (1993-2001) and Crossmodulation (2000), the latter in collaboration with Igor Czerniawski. He also created prints based on the distortion of geometric shapes and early 3D rendering in series such as Geometrica (1991-2001), Legend (1992-2001), and Flow (1996-1999). In these works, the artist plays with the balance between control and randomness. “In math controlled creation,” he states, “the abundance of options available to the artists can easily lead them to go astray in the maze of parameters. […] No matter how you use a computer, or whichever computer you use, to create an art work is not easy. […] For artists who want to create mathematical art through algorithm-driven parameter control, the essential element for success is artistic serendipity. This is the interesting fact of art in the perfect mathematical space.” Abe has written extensively about digital art and technology and has established himself as a figure of reference in the algorithmic and electronic art scene in Japan.

Abe has shown his work at numerous art museums, galleries, and digital art festivals worldwide, and has been awarded Honorary Mentions in Computer Graphics at the Prix Ars Electronica in 1990, 1991, and 1992, among other distinctions. Some of his most notable exhibitions include Xerox PARC Algorithmic Art Exhibition (1994), the New York Digital Salon (1993), Computer Graphics (1995-1996), Drawing with Code (2011), Digital Art @Sony Center (2013), Generative Art (2014), and several editions of the festivals Computerkunst (1992-2010), ISEA (1990-1997), and Pixxelpoint (2000-2004) among others.