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Michael Rottmann

Michael Rottmann

Michael Rottmann

E-Mail: rottmann [at] grako-schrift.fu-berlin.de


Ph.D. Project

"Mathematical Media in the Fine Arts of the 1960s"



The works of art of artists like Hanne Darboven, Ruth Vollmer, as well as Mel Bochner, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, who are protagonists of American Minimal Art or rather Conceptual Art of the 1960s and 70s, clearly show an intensive examination of notations, images and concepts of mathematics. For this reason, these artists of the “New York circle” are exemplary of the process of receiving mathematical media like the calculus, diagrams or visualizations.

With a substantial study of these processes – based on this particular aspect in the oeuvres of the artists mentioned above – as well as with an account of the overall phenomena in New York of the 1960s, a research gap shall be bridged.

First, the different strategies and intentions of the artists in their engagement with mathematical media need to be described: the questioning of how processes of production and reception of fine art work – for instance, locating new forms in the visual culture of mathematics can be seen as a counterpart to the play within self-set (and also restrictive) systems. Focusing on the functionality and effectiveness of mathematical media, such as the generation of meaning, the specific characteristics of mathematical “scripts” and images especially in epistemic processes. The demonstration of cultural relativity of these originally scientific media, which can be observed particularly when they are transferred back into a different context – in this case the artistic system.

Another line of thought is the explication of a hypothetically specific role of mathematical media in the New York circle and with it its dissociation from contemporary or earlier artistic movements also affine to mathematics – like Concrete Art and early Computer Art – based on the works of art, but also on the critical study of statements by the artists, contemporary criticism and other sources.

Linking these processes to the history of mathematics as well as analysing them from a cultural-historical perspective will complete the project.


Curriculum Vitae

Since 1/10/2008

Doctoral fellow at the DFG Research Training Group “’Notational Iconicity’: On the materiality, perceptibility and operativity of writing” at the Free University Berlin


Visiting researcher at the Department of Mathematics – Technical University (TU) Vienna


Assistant curator of the exhibition Genau und anders at MuMOK – Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna


Participant at the summer school of Eikones at the University of Basel (2007) – Modul Artefakte. Bilder am Rande der Wissenschaft Visiting researcher in the USA (New York City, Washington D.C., Marfa/Texas) as a DAAD fellow (German Academic Exchange Service)


Visiting Student at the University of Applied Arts in Austria (Vienna) with Prof. Gabriele Werner – 6 months as a DAAD fellow


Doctoral fellow at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg (Germany)


Research assistant at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science – University of Education Ludwigsburg


State Examination in Mathematics – University of Stuttgart


State Examination in Fine Arts – State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart – Thesis analogue and digital pictures (analoge und digitale Bilder)
Student trainee in the group FV/PLE at Robert Bosch GmbH, Schwieberdingen


Training qualification as an IT-Merchant (IHK)





Forme matematiche: dalla formula alla forma nello spazio. La matematica nell´opera di Donald Judd e Ruth Vollmer, in: Michele Emmer (Hg.), Matematica e cultura 2010, Springer Verlag, Berlin 2010, S.89-105.


Rewind 1960s. Zur Vorgeschichte der Visual Music und des VJings, in: Ausstellungskatalog: Sound:Frame Festival 2009. Evolution Remixed! Theory, Czernin Verlag, Wien 2009, S.14-21


Zur Objektivität in der bildenden Kunst der 1960er-Jahre. Mathematische Medien als Produktionsfaktoren in der Minimal- und Concept Art und der frühen Computerkunst, in: Internationale Mathematische Nachrichten, Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Mathematischen Gesellschaft, Nr. 207, Wien, pp.7-30.

Der Boom der Bilder. Zur Blüte mathematischer Demonstrationsmodelle im 19. Jahrhundert, in: Ausstellungskatalog: Genau und anders. Mathematik in der Kunst von Dürer bis Sol LeWitt, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg, pp.66-70.

Frühe künstlerische Computergrafik. Eine Archäologie, in: Ausstellungskatalog: Genau und anders. Mathematik in der Kunst von Dürer bis Sol LeWitt, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg, pp. 144-151.

Einmal Cubeland und zurück. Mathematische Aspekte in der Minimal und Concept-Art der 1960er/70er Jahre. Mel Bochner - Donald Judd - Sol LeWitt - Ruth Vollmer, in: Ausstellungskatalog: Genau und anders. Mathematik in der Kunst von Dürer bis Sol LeWitt, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg, pp.120-143.


Das digitale Bild als Visualisierungsstrategie der Mathematik, in: Ingeborg Reichle, Steffen Siegel, Achim Spelten (ed.), Verwandte Bilder. Die Fragen der Bildwissenschaft, Kadmos Verlag, Berlin, pp.281-296.



Ausgerechnet...Mathematik und konkrete Kunst, in: Katja Lengnink (Hg.), GDM-Mitteilungen, 83/2007, Berlin 2007, S.36-46. Cover


Mathematische Kunst. Max Bill in Stuttgart, gemeinsam mit Gregor Nickel, in: Rainer Schulze-Pillot (Hg.), DMV-Mitteilungen 14-3/2006, Berlin 2006, S.150-159. Cover


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