Hans Dehlinger

University of Kassel, School of Art
Kassel / Berlin, Germany

Generative art is focused on the design of rule-systems, which, if executed, will return aesthetic events, measuring up to the criteria of the artist. This type of art-production exposes the artist to all the known and strange properties of design-processes at large. One of them: Designing aims at a plan or a guideline. Someone else, not the designer itself, may realize it as project. For that reason the descriptive layout has to be delivered beforehand and with precision to bring about the wanted result. Usually, an artist at work enjoys a direct feedback. In generative art there is a feed-back-gap between the design of the generative system and the evaluation of its results. This is a fascinating challenge and an adventure to enjoy.

15 x 15 x 15 cm
3D print, sculpture

Map a 4 x 4 magic square ms on two opposite surfaces of a cube as m1 and m2. Sequentially connect cells of m1 with a connector c by a process p to meet cells of m2, and vice versa, according to specifications given below.

The connectors will pass a 4 x 4 grid placed halfway between the cube-faces. This grid is a visual reference structure and it supports the resulting sculpture for 3D printing.


ms is filled with: 1, 2, 3, …, 16

rotate m1 by 180° to get m2

c ∈ {solid rod | tube | rectangular tube | … etc.}

p ∈ {use all: go from m1(1) to m2(2) … m2(16) to m1(1) | use odd: go from m1(1) to m2(3) … m2(15) to m1(1)

| use even: go from m1(2) to m2(4) … m2(16) to m1(2) | use squares | use Fibonacci | use other}

20 x 15 x 15 cm
3D print, sculpture

The use of magic squares for these sculptural experiments is a deliberate decision with the underlying assumption, that their inherent ordering principles makes an aesthetic difference over squares randomly filled with numbers. Mathematically magic squares are well known and have been studied extensively, though with a focus on recreational mathematics. The use of magic squares in art is also well known but less so in terms of three-dimensional artwork. Without the aid of mathematically based modelling software, such sculptures could hardly be realised.

In MS_loop, the connection of cells is achieved by threading tilted and perpendicular elements in three dimensions through the cells of a magic square. The real object is a 3D-print.