Extraordinary days in Linz now lie behind the almost 95-year-old Herbert W. Franke, who, as a pioneer between the realms of science and art, stood at the beginning of groundbreaking developments with many works. He used analytical methods to investigate the interrelationships between physics, mathematics, technologies and art in a wide-ranging field of experimentation. The VISIONARY exhibition at Linz’s beautiful Francisco Carolinum Museum honors his life’s work, which ranges from cave exploration to science fiction literature to digital art. At the same time, Herbert W. Franke opened a Twitter account that already gained 10,000 followers in only two days, who now celebrate the artist as a pioneer of modern crypto art. Some of them even traveled to the opening of the exhibition.
At the opening on March 29, 2022, Franke received the Cultural Decoration of Honor in Gold, the highest honor bestowed by the state, from the hands of Upper Austrian Governor Thomas Stelzer.
After the official opening of the exhibition by Alfred Weidinger, the head of provincial culture, the visitors went from the staircase to the exhibition rooms, where many computer artists from all over Europe duly celebrated the visionary.
Impressions of the exhibition opening.picture series above : Herbert W. Franke with some stars of crypto art like Kevin Abosh (right), Mario Kingebiehl (center) or Ran Robert Leeghte, and a “family photo” with artists and museum officials. Photos: Artist collaboration WMD Collective from Berlin as well as Francisco Carolinum (top right) and MOOI Design (bottom right).
As diverse as Franke’s activities and pioneering achievements were, they are all united by his lifelong search for unknown spaces: under the earth as a cave explorer, in space and in the future as a man of letters, and as a visual artist of algorithmic art of the first hour. The exhibition attempts to visualize his thought structure in three large thematic areas as well as two media rooms.
- The mathematical principle of continuity in nature and art.
- Structure formation, fractals and coincidence – the mathematical foundations of aesthetics.
- Fantastic worlds: from world models to the metaverse.
Room 1: Continuity in nature and art – leitmotif in the works of Herbert W. Franke with early generative photographic artworks from the 1950s. Photo: Francisco Carolinum
Room 2: Math Art – Structure Formation, Fractals and Randomness, an extensive group of works with analytical investigations of mathematical disciplines. Photo: Francisco Carolinum
Room 3: Alfred Weidinger, head of the Upper Austrian Kultur GmbH, with Herbert W. Franke at the press conference on the occasion of the exhibition opening. Photo: space press
Before the opening: the panel discussion Back to the Future, streamed online, moderated by Anika Meier, a talk about pioneer Herbert W. Franke and the latest developments in digital blockchain art – with Genoveva Rückert, Christa Sommerer, Susanne Päch as well as Kevin Abosh, Rafael Rozendahl and Georg Bak. (All photos below: Francisco Carolinum).