Biography

Nicolas Schöffer

Artist in his studio 

Nicolas Schöffer. Was one of the main promoters of artistic space in post-war Europe, and a forerunner of "cybernetic art" and media art. His research, focused on the programming of time, light and space, marks a decisive break for the art of the twentieth century. In his work sculpture frees itself from the materiality of the object, to become device that generates effects on the spectator, in a spirit of total art. Schöffer is also known for connecting art with technology by providing his sculptures with ‘electronic brains’ responsible for feedback systems. The sculptures of a new kind were able to interact with humans, and the environment. In his art work, for the first time it was possible to replace man in a ballet performance with a robot, and control a monumental sculpture with a computer. (Tour de Liege, Tour Lumiere Cybernétique de la Defense)

Schöffer received his artistic training at the School of Fine Arts in Budapest and the École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. He moved to France in 1936. In 1948 he began to investigate Spatiodynamisme through the construction of a series of sculptures made of aluminium frames and glass or Plexiglas coloured slates (in some cases mobile) which particular design and structure produced dynamic changes of both, the internal spaces of the pieces and their environment, multiplying the effects of light and shadows. His sculpture ‘CYSP 1’ (1956) is considered as the first cybernetic autonomous sculpture in art history. To create this work, Schöffer used electronic system developed by the Philips Company. His creative-innovative career includes painting, sculpture, architecture, urbanism, spectacles, tapestry, films, music, videos, photo, teaching and 10 books.

Nicolas Schöffer

IMPORTANT DATES: 

1956

The 1st self-governed (autonomous) cybernetic sculpture: Cysp 1.

1959

Documenta II, Kassel, Allemagne, 

1961

Variations Luminodynamiques 1 » First clip for television in history 

1961

“Tour Spatiodynamique et Cybernetique de Liege” (52 m high - 66 revolving mirrors - 120 colored projectors - photoelectric cells and microphones), together with a 1500 m2 animated colored performance on the facade of the Palace of Congress, reflected by the Meuse River, with music by Henri Pousseur, Liege, Belgium, / Patrimony of the Wallonia (Belgium)

Retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts, Pavillon de Marsan (Louvre Museum)

1968

Grand Price for Sculpture’ Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy

1968

Cybernetic Serendipity, Gordon Pask's Colloquy at ICA's, London, UK

1974

KYLDEX 1 Spectacle Cybernétique Expérimental : Opéra de Hambourg, with Pierre Henry (musique) - Solo Show in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France, 1974

2005

Nicolas Schöffer, ballets de Lumiéres », Fundation EDF – Espace Electra. Paris 

2012
 “Nicolas Schöffer, pioneiro da Arte Cybernetica”, CIS Sao Paolo, Brasil.

2015
Nicolas Schöffer retrospective, Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary.

KYLDEX 1(Documentation) , Nicolas Schöffer Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Caracas

2016
1,000 m2 of Desire Architecture and sexuality, CCC Barcelona

2018 

Variations “ Media Art Fair”, (L'Origine du monde numérique), Cite des arts, Paris. Nov 2017 -Rétro-prospective Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut ( LAM) Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
Artistes et Robots, Grand Palais 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Belgium 

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium: Home

United States 

MOMA, New York 

Guggenheim, New York 

France

Centro Nacional de Arte y Cultura Georges Pompidou, París 

Israel

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv 

Venezuela

Museo de arte contemporáneo de Caracas, Caracas