Nicolas Schöffer

Born on september 6th 1912 in Kalocsa (Hungary), lived in Paris since 1936, became French in 1948 and died in his Montmartre atelier, Villa des Arts, on the 8th of January 1992.
Studied at the Jesuit College of Kalocsa ; Doctorate of Law ; Graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Budapest (Hungary).

After further studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (Atelier Sabatté) he developped a very personal style of work.

1948: Spatiodynamism


His career as creator-inovator includes sculpture, architecture, urbanism, total theatre, tapestry, film, music, teaching and books.

He is the father of Cybernetic Art (1954) and Video Art (1961)


A few important dates :

A sound cybernetic Tower (50 m high) for the 1st Salon Bâtimat, Paris (France)
A house with invisible dividing wall, for the 2nd Salon Bâtimat, Paris (France)

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

The Cybernetic Tower of Liege (52 m high - 66 revolving mirrors - 120 colored projectors - photoelectric cells and microphones), together with a 1500 m2 animated coloured performance on the facade of the Palace of Congress, reflected by the Meuse river, with music by Henri Pousseur

Sculpture spatiodynamique 1.

1st Video production in the history of television: “Variations Luminodynamiques 1.? (Télévision Française)

Retrospective exhibition in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Pavillon de Marsan, Le Louvre (Paris) where the reduced model of the Cybernetic Light Tower of Paris-La Défense was shown for the firs time

Co-founding of GIAP (International Group of Prospective Architecture)

First Grand Prize of the Biennale of Venice
Creation and 1st presentation of the PRISM

Co-creation of the UP7 (Pedagogical Unit of Prospective Architecture) in the Fine-Arts School of Paris

12 m animated maquette of the T.L.C. (Cybernetic Light Tower of Paris-La Défense) at the Universal Exposition, Osaka (Japan)

Creation and presentation of SCAM 1., 1st Auto-Mobile-Sculpture in Milan (Italy) and Paris (chassis : Renault ; coachwork : Coggiola, Torino)

KYLDEX 1. 1st experimental cybernetic show, at Hamburg Opera-house, with music by Pierre Henry, choreography by Alwin Nikolais with Carolyn Carlson

Important exhibition in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Installation of a 20 m programmed sculpture: CHRONOS 8., San Francisco (USA)

1st luminodynamic tapestry : MURLUX 1. wowen out of plastic tubes by the Mobilier National (Paris)
Start of research in sound
Trip to Hungary on an official invitation from the Hungarian government

1st Record : Hommage à Bartok, Hungaroton (Budapest)

Inauguration of the Nicolas Schöffer Museum in his birth place, Kalocsa (Hungary)

The beginning of his experiments with GRAPHILUX, an instrument to promote literacy and artistic pedagogy in the fist and last classes in Kalocsa
1st Sound Structures on the 4X computer at IRCAM : Variations on 600

A 26 m cybernetic tower, CHRONOS 8, Kalocsa
Elected as a Member of the Institute of France, Fine Arts Academy. He is the first Academician of Hungarian origin.

1st Bisannual Seminar in Kalocsa : “New Technologies in Contemporary Artistic Research?BR> His Atelier at the Villa des Arts is opened to schools and the public

2nd Seminar in Kalocsa : "New Research in Contemporary Music"
International workshop organised by UNESCO for the promotion of the GRAPHILUX, Nice (France)
As the result of a stroke he lost the use of his right hand and arm

3rd Seminar in Kalocsa : "New Reseach in Graphic Poetry"
CHOREOGRAPHICS : new research on the surface, with his left hand

Installation of the 27 m TOUR D’AIN, at the A40 and A42 highway crossroads, Pont d’Ain (France)
Installation of the 30 m LYONEON, an inox and cybernetically programmed neon tower for the new metro station, place d’Arsonval, Lyon (France)
ORDIGRAPHICS : new research with his left hand on the Macintosh computer

Participation in the 1st French Academy of Beaux-Arts exhibition in Moscow (Russia)
Exhibition : ?949 - Spatiodynamiques 1 and 2 - 1989 - Choréographics and Ordigraphics? Galerie Denise René, Paris
Exhibition : “Derniers projets (Final projects) : Percussonors, Basculantes and Hydrothermochronos? Hungarian Institute, Paris

?/FONT>Surface et Espace? Capitales Editions
COLLEOGRAPHICS and ORDICOLS : new research of collages
Participation in the exhibition of the Institute of France, Château of Bourdeilles (France)
Participation in the exhibition : ?0 years of Thoughts and Action in Contemporary Art? Centre Noroît, Arras (France)
The beginning of the “CATALOGUE RAISONNE?BR> The President of the Republic decorates him Commander of the National Order of Merit in the Elysée Palace, Paris (France)

Participation in numerous expositions
4th Seminar : "New Research in Architecture" at the Schöffer Mùzeum, Kalocsa (Hungary)
Presentation of his Academician sword, a Sword of Light, made by the sculptors Alain Bourgeon and Jean-Michel Françoise
The last video film with Nicolas Schöffer, by Marion Sarraut

1992 Death of Nicolas Schöffer on the 6th of january


Participation in the “Tapis d’Artistes? exhibition, Artcurial, Paris (France)
Participation in the “Games?exhibition, Miskolc (Hungary)
Participation in “L’Art en Mouvement? exhibition, Fondation Maeght, St Paul-de Vence (France)
Studies for the restauration of the Cybernetic Tower of Liège (Belgium)

“SCHÖFFER-TINGUELY-Hommage? Galerie Denise René, Paris (France)
Film of Nicolas Schöffer’s work (26 and 52 minutes), by Bernard Vincent
Participation in the exhibition “The Hungarian of Paris? in the French and Hungarian Institutes, Berlin (Germany)

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