About Lillian F. Schwartz
Lillian F. Schwartz is a pioneer of computer-generated art. With a background in Fine Arts, she worked at Bell Labs between 1968 and 2001, contributing to groundbreaking research on computer graphics, video and 3D animation.
About Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau
Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are internationally renowned media artists, researchers and pioneers of interactive art.
About Anna Ridler
Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher whose work focuses on data collection and systems of knowledge.
Kunsthalle Praha hosts a major exhibition on the history of art and technology, inspired by the former function of its building, the Zenger Electrical Substation.
The scope of Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art spans the early artistic use of motorised movement and artificial light through to advanced computational models, information technology, and digital art. Exploring how electricity has transformed artistic practice from the start of the 20th century to the present day, four key areas are presented: cinematography, kinetic art, cybernetic art, and computer art.
The exhibition features over ninety works of art by several generations of artists from all over the world, including independent figures and members of emblematic groups such as Bauhaus, GRAV, Dvizhenie, ZERO, and teamLab. The show will include the work of pioneers such as Mary Ellen Bute, Zdeněk Pešánek, László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Duchamp; established names such as Julio Le Parc, Yaacov Agam, Woody and Steina Vašulka, François Morellet, Lillian F. Schwartz, Adéla Matasová, William Kentridge, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau; and representatives from younger generations such as Anna Ridler, Refik Anadol, Žilvinas Kempinas, Shilpa Gupta, Olafur Eliasson, Michael Bielický & Kamila B. Richter.
The exhibition is also a nod to Czech avant-garde artist and pioneer of kinetic art Zdeněk Pešánek who created a series of allegorical kinetic light sculptures titled 100 Years of Electricity for the façade of the Zenger substation in 1936. The exhibition title also refers to his seminal book Kinetismus which discusses the possibilities offered by the integration of motorised movement and artificial light in art.
Folowing Pešánek’s legacy, this project offers a new model of the evolution of the visual arts in which cinematography leads to kinetic art, followed by cybernetic and computer art, thus revealing the link between moving machines and moving images: electricity.
The exhibition has been conceived by guest curator Peter Weibel (theoretician, artist and director of the ZKM l Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany), alongside co-curators Christelle Havranek (Chief curator at Kunsthalle Praha) and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás (scientific associate and curator) and has benefited from important loans from private lenders and major institutions including ZKM (Germany), Tate (UK) and Centre Pompidou (France).
The exhibition includes a digital catalogue with detailed information about all of the artworks.