Vera Molnar

Hungarian (1924–2023)

About the artist:

Vera Molnár was a Hungarian media artist who lived and worked in France. Molnár is widely considered to have been a pioneer of computer art and generative art and was also one of the first women to use computers in her art practice.

Born in Hungary, she studied aesthetics and art history at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. In the 1940s and 1950s, she created non-representational paintings. By 1959 she was making combinatorial images; in 1968, she would use a computer to create her first algorithmic drawings.

In the 1960s, she founded two groups in France concerned with the use of technology within the arts: the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel and Art et Informatique. In 1976, her first solo exhibition in the gallery of the London Polytechnic took place.

Her work has been widely collected by major museums. In 2007, she was named a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in France.

Molnár was selected as one of 213 artists for the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.

Vera Molnár, born in 1924 in Hungary, was one of the pioneers of computer and algorithmic arts. Trained as a traditional artist, Molnár studied for a diploma in art history and aesthetics at the Budapest College of Fine Arts, where she graduated in 1947, and where she met her future husband, François Molnar (1922–1993) a scientist with whom she collaborated. For a short while in 1947 she lived in Rome, before moving to Paris that same year. In 1948, she married Molnár.

Molnár iterated combinatorial images from as early as 1959. In 1968 she began working with computers, where she began to create algorithmic paintings based on simple geometric shapes and geometrical themes.

Molnár died on 7 December 2023, at age 99.

Molnár created her first non-representational images in 1946. These were abstract geometrical and systematically determined paintings. In 1947 she received an artists' fellowship to study in Rome at the Villa Giulia, and shortly after moved to France, where she resided until she died in Paris.

In the 1960s, Molnár co-founded several artist research groups. The first, in 1960, was the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel, which investigates collaborative approaches to mechanical and kinetic art. The second was Art et Informatique, with a focus on art and computing. Molnár learned the early programming languages of Fortran and BASIC, and gained access to a computer at a research laboratory in Paris where she began to make computer graphic drawings on a plotter.

Molnár was part of the 2010 exhibition "On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition demonstrated the history of drawing lines.

A 2015 retrospective exhibition called "Regarding the Infinite | Drawings 1950–1987" was held at Senior & Shopmaker Gallery in New York City.

In 2005 Molnár received the DAM Digital Arts Award for her life's work, which includes €20,000 prize, and a catalogued exhibition. Vera Molnár's exhibit, (Un)Ordnung.(Dés)Ordre. at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv shows her early freehand drawings never exhibited before, from the late-1960s to the new installation there, at the museum in Zürich.

Molnár was appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters (2007) and won the outstanding merit award AWARE in 2018.

Molnár was one of 213 artists announced as part of the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. The theme for the Venice Biennale is to "Challenge the Idea of 'Men as the Center of the Universe'."

Vera Molnar

Hungarian (1924–2023)

( works)

About the artist:

Vera Molnár was a Hungarian media artist who lived and worked in France. Molnár is widely considered to have been a pioneer of computer art and generative art and was also one of the first women to use computers in her art practice.

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