Digital Art Museum
Jean-Pierre HÉBERT    


Art on Paper, March 1999

The Art Of The Passing Moment


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Art on Paper, March 1999

Jean-Pierre H�bert, "All hope abandon, ye who enter in." (Dante, Inf. III, 9) (1998), an Iris print in an edition of 15. It measures 41x26 in. (paper) and 26-1/4x18-1/2 in. (image) and was printed on Arches paper by Jon Cone at Cone Edition Press in East Topsham, Vermont.

"Since 1979 my computers draw and I watch", writes artist, mathematician and "algorithmist" Jean-Pierre H�bert on his very excellent Web site ( Using tagged tiff files and plotters (he has recently designed one that is all virtual), H�bert generates very beautiful and mysterious abstract drawings based on formulas — a picture of line in its purest life, as it were. His cited artistic precedents are many, ranging from the famous (Josef and Anni Albers) to the neglected (Charmion von Wiegand), but foremost is, of course, Swiss artist Max Bill, who similarly privileged abstract formula to generate artistic form (H�bert has in fact, completed another Iris series based on Bill's work). The Dante print is one of seven large, hypnotic prints produced at Cone Editions; each is inspired by a different source --a bit of literature, Chinese painting, real landscape, or simply "the unique and masterly control of the line that the software medium can provide." All have resulted in a web of line undulating and folding over the surface, with each of the seven images completely unique.

About the Dante H�bert writes, "I recognized a large cavern, a profound abyss, abrupt walls, mysterious paths, fearful vibrations, dark contrasts, and all suddenly conspired to turn this piece into an abstraction of the infernal circles. The 'fearful vibrations' come from the superposition of two spiral lines, at slightly different scales, which set an increasing lag or echo between them."

For those who have been searching for an Ur-computer image alternative to that much more common manipulated photograph, here is a very interesting peek into the future. Price $1,000. Published by Cone Edition Press.