Exhibition Opens in Honor of Vera Molnár, Pioneer of Computer Art

The exhibition Á la recherche de Vera Molnar at the Ludwig Museum is a fitting tribute to the great artist, Vera Molnár, who died two months ago, said Máté Vincze, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, at the opening of the exhibition on Friday.

“Vera Molnár twisted and turned the rules until she became art. This exhibition is a tribute to her work, which is special because it is accompanied by rhythm and reflects her work, as well as the trendy artists of the present day,” added the Deputy State Secretary. He stressed that emigration put 20th century Hungarian art on the world map. “Alongside Judit Reigl and Simon Hantai, Vera Molnár played a prominent role in this, as did Ilona Keserü, Dóra Maurer, Imre Bak, and from the earlier period, László Moholy-Nagy, among the artists who worked in Hungary,” he said.

Máté Vincze at the opening of the exhibition. Photo: MTI/Purger Tamás

Julia Fabényi, director of the Ludwig Museum, said that

Vera Molnár, a pioneer of computer art, was a wonderful thinker and a great innovator.”

Á la recherche de Vera Molnar – Artworks by Vera Molnar and Contemporary Reflections is a two-part exhibition. The first will present the artist through important pieces of her oeuvre, while the second will pay tribute to Molnár through the works of internationally renowned artists who knew her personally.

Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest. Photo: Wikipedia

The exhibition was opened by German mathematician and computer scientist Frieder Nake, another pioneer of computer art, who paid tribute to Molnár’s work with a piece of his own last year. “Computers can calculate almost anything you can program into them. Nowadays there is a special technological revolution, but Vera’s words ring in my ears: ‘If I do not like what the computer is doing, I change it a little.’ She was great at using the machine to do what she imagined,” said Nake, whose tribute to Vera Molnár was the only reflection in the exhibition that the artist, who died in December 2023, shortly before her 100th birthday, could still see.

German mathematician and computer scientist Frieder Nake, pioneer of computer art. Photo: MTI/Purger Tamás

Hungarian-born French artist Molnár died shortly before her 100th birthday last December.

The exhibition was planned to mark her birthday, and the artist herself was involved in the initial planning stages.

Photo: Facebook/Ludwig Múzeum


Vera Molnár (1924-2023) completed her studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 1947, then traveled to Rome with her future husband on a state scholarship, and soon afterwards settled in Paris, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life. In the 1960s, she turned her attention to mathematics and information theory, becoming one of the first computer engineers in 1968. She called her method “machine imaginire” (imaginary machine), creating digital drawings and algorithmic paintings based on geometric shapes. Her basic concept was to insert ‘1 percent disorder’ into an ordered basic structure.

Photo: Facebook/Ludwig Múzeum

The exhibition includes works by the artist from 1950 to 2022, and the second half of the exhibition includes a tribute to Vera Molnar by several well-known contemporary artists. Arno Beck, Patrick Lichty, Erwin Steller, Iskra Velitchkova, Auréce Vetier, and Mark Wilson have taken a graphic approach, while Refik Anadol, Snow Yunxue Fu, Mario Klingemann, Frieder Nake, Casey Reas, Antoine Schmitt, Tamiko Thiel, and Samuel Yan have created generative works in video or extended reality format using algorithms. The U2PO50 team’s kinetic sculpture shows a computer algorithm with vibrations and different sounds.

Photo: Facebook/Ludwig Múzeum

Á la recherche de Vera Molnar is a collaboration between the Ludwig Museum, Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur, and Vintage Gallery. Among the lending institutions and galleries are the Hungarian National Gallery and the Broich Digital Art Museum. The exhibition can be viewed at the Ludwig Museum until April 14.

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Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Purger Tamás

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