Hein Gravenhorst (*1937) is a co-founder of generative photography, a genre of photography that aims to generate logically comprehensible aesthetic structures based on defined programs. This genre was related to Max Bense's Generative Aesthetic, which provided a principle for generating specific operations methodically.
Gravenhorst's contribution to Generative Photography can be traced back to 1968, when he exhibited alongside Gottfried Jäger, Pierre Cordier, and Kilian Breier at the Bielefelder Kunsthaus. The exhibition, titled GENERATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY, defined its program and featured photographers who had an aesthetic principle in common. The aim was to achieve an optional and functional reference of all elements involved in the construction of the aesthetic structure.
Gravenhorst's oeuvre between 1965 and 1972 is particularly noteworthy, with several series featuring rare, unique specimens. Since 2001, he has created purely digital works on the computer as a continuation of generative photography. These images bear no titles or series designations, and the artist deliberately refrains from describing them. He sees them as "energy fields" that enter into spiritual communication with the viewer.
Gravenhorst's works are part of international private and public collections, with the Collection Peter C. Ruppert, Würzburg, 2007 and the MoMA, New York, having acquired his works in recent years. In addition to his artistic practice, Gravenhorst has also turned to alternative medicine as a therapist since the mid-1970s. He currently lives and works in Berlin.