Thoughts & Insights

Using all technique like a pencil

Today 25 years ago was the opening of OUBEYs first and only exhibition. 12 pictures were displayed from his then latest work – pictures which he virtually generated on the computer. He himself called this exhibition: “MINDKISS – THE PHOTONPAINTING”.

Five years before in 1987 he had begun to experiment with an Amiga 500  – more or less contemporaneous to  Andy Warhol´s first digital experiments with the Amiga 500 in New York. This marks out 2017 as the 30th anniversary of the beginning of OUBEYs Computer Art.


Some 500 computer works from this time form part of the trove of OUBEYs “hidden treasures”. OUBEY asked whether these computer-based works are really art, and, pointing out the opportunities opened up by the Amiga, gave a snappy succinct answer: ART? YES!

atelier-amiga-01 atelier-amiga-02

The pictures above are all screenshots from a super 8 film taken by OUBEY to record his first steps on the computer screen. This explains the double loss of quality the pictures show in terms of definition and colour. Yet on the exceptional occasion of the 25th/30th anniversary, we’re quite happy to overlook this.

As a creative pioneer of his time, OUBEY assembled a refined palette of Amiga-based technical components that opened up for him the undreamt-of possibilities of computer painting. Here are two pictures from the early phase in 1987 when OUBEY was exploring and testing the possibilities of the Amiga. They bear witness to the tremendous distance travelled by OUBEY in his computer art during the five years leading up to the MINDKISS Exhibition in 1992.

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The paintings which OUBEY displayed in his 1992 MINDKISS Exhibition are testimony to his passion, his skills and abilities and his unflagging drive to explore technical possibilities to their utmost frontiers. That he succeeded in these early days in creating paintings on the computer screen of such extraordinary graphic three dimensionality and life even today is a source of amazement for art enthusiasts.

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The opening of the exhibition on 6 April 1992 was also accompanied by publication of a catalogue.

Titelbild Katalog 1992-1


On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the “MINDKISS – Exhibition”, to which the OUBEY MINDKISS  Project also owes its name, for the first time we are now presenting previously unpublished excerpts from this conversation: Along with the twenty PhotonPaintings – and just as astonishing as the works themselves – this catalogue also featured his statements on the relationship of “classical” painting to computer-based art. These statements were drawn from a long conversation between OUBEY and the art historian Ortrud Toker that was held in the preparatory phase of the exhibition.

“The difference between painting and working with a computer? For me there is a very minor difference. The difference between painting and a pencil drawing is more fundamental than between painting and working with a painting program of the computer. Even the difference between pencil and felt-pen is greater, means a greater adjustment in terms of feeling, has a greater effect on the pictures that are created.

In this respect I must, however, mention that I do not work with programs, which create the typical computer-graphics. With respect to my painting I am not at all interested in the differentiations which arise from the multitude of Mandelbrodt´s theory, that is to say fractals, graphic designs which repeat themselves, etc. I took a look at it, thought about it and that is all. In my opinion, it is far too typical for computers, belongs to physics, to science, just as, just as the false color photography or astrophotography. All of these things belong more into the field of scientific graphics.

In future the computer will play no greater role than thus far. I will be glad when the time comes that computers are so widespread that they will no longer be of more interest than a car or a razor today. Many people confuse the computer with software. Software will certainly be one of the essential topics in the future; computers and all of the techniques will continuously be improved (…) The artists have to take a close look and comprehend what is happening. They have to swallow, absorb, digest, use, misuse, destroy and do what they want with it. Their genius is called upon to take things the way they come, to grab them and to do with them whatever comes to their mind or whatever they like.

That means to accept the computer the way it is. But it also means to be courageous enough to replace the computer by a pencil again. It is simply necessary to take all liberties. If the computer should, by chance, be lying on your way, pick it up, but stamp it into the sand on another occasion.”

All the PhotonPaintings featured in the catalogue of the MINDKISS Exhibition are now posted on our newly revamped website on the new subpage under the title “1st Exhibit 1992”. Click here to see them all:

By the way: If you would like to win one of twenty five of the original catalogues of the 1992 MINDKISS Exhibition just visit one of our showrooms on the social web by 30 April 2017 and share, like or comment on one of OUBEYs paintings on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.Simply click on one of the icons below to go to our account on the social web.