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Gerhard Mantz attended the Academy of Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, and worked for over 20 years as an abstract painter before becoming a sculptor. In 1995 he began using computers to help him to discern and define form.
"When I discovered the computer, I was so excited by its potential. The construction of virtual forms was very similar to my three-dimensional studio work. I thought, This is the best toy - and tool - I've ever had." Mantz began to work with the Vue d'Esprit (and later Vue) the 3D graphics program, creating objects that did not exist outside the computer, making objects that were neither reconstructions nor representations. "The work took me back to my roots at the Academy. I found myself imagining space and then constructing it. I put the virtual camera inside objects and then - in time - into a landscape."
In recent years Mantz has introduced movement into his work, creating animations in his Infinite Image Productions. "The idea for this work came to me during a residency in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern," he explained. "I stared at a field of goats and sheep, watching their arbitrary grazing and meetings, and set about designing a program which would simulate that movement."
The resulting animations are spontaneous and unique. A random sequential generator ensures that no image is ever repeated.
Gerhard Mantz is softly-spoken and self-effacing, at home both in his white-walled Schöneberg, Germany, apartment and his New York studio. He has over 50 solo and 60 group shows to his credit and, when complimented on his prolific productivity, he shrugged and said with humility, "Oh, that's just because of my age."
"You can call me a digital artist of course," he concluded. "But that suggests for me work that is overly technological. I think of myself just as a [digital] painter."
Making Art with Computers
A Conversation with Gerhard Mantz
by JD Jarvis
MOCA's Digital Video and Audio Index