Extra-Natural 2024 by Miguel Chevalier

The exhibition Extra-Natural plunges visitors into the heart of a reinvented nature. Miguel Chevalier’s work examines poetically and metaphorically, the question of the link between nature and artifice coexisting and enriching each other today. ù

Relying on a process initiated at the end of the nineties, which is based on the observation of the plant kingdom, and its imaginary transposition within a digital universe, Miguel Chevalier has created virtual herbariums that allow him to create virtual gardens.

Photo © Thomas Granovsky

We discover in the exhibition a generative and interactive virtual garden Extra-Natural. This lush garden is made up of varieties of imaginary flowers out of botanical classifications: wired and luminescent plants, light and fluid, of a symphony of vivid colors; herbaceous plants with long translucent leaves; exotic flowers with extraordinary corollas.

Extra-Natural is a lush, generative, interactive, projected virtual garden made up of imaginary flowers in stylized forms, whose shapes evoke certain species common in Cameroon, such as the peace tree with its long, slender leaves. The flowers are massive and impressively grand, and through their metamorphosis and colours, they are a kind of hybrid flower that you’ve never seen before.

Photo © Thomas Granovsky

This work uses algorithms that create artificial life universes, with growth, proliferation and disappearance effects. The originality and the might of this creation are achievable thanks to a generator from which gigantic flowers of different sizes, colours and shapes are produced.
Each plant evolves according to a unique cycle that is defined by its morphogenetic characteristics.

Virtual plants appear randomly, blossom, and then fade, following a dynamic that is repeated ad infinitum. The garden constantly renews and transforms itself. Through atypical shapes and amazing colours, diverse artificial paradises are created. This work is also interactive through infrared sensors. As viewers interact with the artwork, the plants incline to the left or right.

Photo © Thomas Granovsky

The plants undulate with a wind that we can’t feel, creating a scene which alternates between baroque strapwork and stylized organic ballet. The flowers’ corollas fall petal by petal, the leaves fall in a poetic rain, and the flowers disappear in an explosion of stamens. The lightweight dance draws the outlines of the garden, and like a microcosm, seems to resume the evanescence of beauty and life.

These simulacra of nature leads us into an artificial paradise. The gently undulating forms build a poetic and meditative feel. Beyond their aesthetic and playful qualities, these works question the stakes of genetic manipulation: no one can predict what these flowers will produce freely to cross and reproduce to infinity …

Photo © Thomas Granovsky

These artificial paradises seek to create a new relationship with nature, to recreate the conditions of a symbiosis between human and nature. This interactive installation is accompanied by a series of 9 Extra-Natural drawings created using a robot equipped with fluorescent felt-tip pens. This technique makes it possible to produce precise, complex drawings that would be impossible to produce by hand.

These highly graphic designs emphasize the wire-shaped nature of these plants. These organic shapes are reminiscent of the interlacing plant forms of the Art Nouveau movement. These creations show how generative digital art and current digital techniques can renew the practice of traditional drawing and open up new perspectives. Source by Miguel Chevalier.

Photo © Thomas Granovsky

Location: National Museum, Yaoundé, Cameroon

Artist: Miguel Chevalier

Organized: French Institute in Cameroon

Date: May 16 to August 31, 2024

Photograhs: Thomas Granovsky, Courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

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