Winfried Fischer

Born 1930-11-10
Died 1989-06-23

Winfried Fischer was head of MBB Press Relations. (“MBB” was the short name of the German aerospace company, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm with its main offices in Ottobrunn near Munich.) Fischer was also responsible within MBB for cultural activities.

In the context of compArt daDA, a lovely attempt of Fischer’s is remarkable for his attitude. He tried to bring together in some sort of collaboration well-known artists in West-Germany and engineers from MBB. In 1971, he initiated an invitation to a selection of well-known artists who, as he believed, could be interested in projects of collaborating with engineers and programmers of MBB to create some sort of new manifestations of art.

We don’t know much more about this experiment than the pure fact of the initiative and its outcome. That, however, was a total failure: Apparently not a single artist reacted positively to the chance of doing something with computers in cooperation with engineers.

Unfortunately, the letter of invitation is unknown, the list of artists is unknown who were invited, and their answers are also not known. – Speculation may have suggested that the time was ripe and promising to try such an ambitious manifestation:

  • first exhibitions of computer art had been arranged in 1965;
  • five years prior, 1966 saw a project similar to the MBB endeavour materialize in New York: artist Robert Rauschenberg and engineer Billy Klüver headed a group of artists and Bell Labs engineers to work on installations and performances for the event of Nine Evenings;
  • the student revolts of 1968 in Western Europe and California had raised issues of a new political-cultural dimension;
  • video art, concept art, op art had celebrated their first successes.

But MBB could not gain publicity by presenting a surprise event of the kind, “top artists meet aerospace engineers in peaceful collaboration”.

One result, however, materialized. A designer and student of fine art in Munich, Sylvia Roubaud, agreed to experiment with Gerold Weiss (mathematician at MBB). A number of fine geometric graphic works came out of this, and the MBB Computer Graphics group was founded in 1971.

Their works were exhibited internally at MBB’s Casino in 1972. The works were offered to Zagreb’s Tendencies 5 exhibition and displayed there in 1973.

Later, Winfried Fischer was married to Sylvia Roubaud.