Miguel Chevalier

Digital Abysses: When Miguel Chevalier draws inspiration from the deep sea

From March 9 to May 20, 2018, Miguel Chevalier will occupy the spaces of the Bordeaux Submarine Base with Digital Abyss. This exhibition, the most important realized by the artist to date, presents on 3 500 m2, more than 10 monumental installations, 8 of which are digital and configured to the scale of the place, as well as a cabinet of curiosities of more than 40 works of various formats (sculptures, paintings in Dacryl resin, laser cutting, light boxes...). Inspired by the deep sea depths that occupy two thirds of the planet, the artist, a pioneer in virtual and digital art, continues his exploration of nature through the theme of wildlife and underwater forests.
Miguel Chevalier explores in an incredibly poetic and metaphorical way the question of the link between nature and artifice which today coexist and mutually enrich each other. The exhibition Digital Abyss enters in resonance with the place, at the same time mineral, aquatic and vegetal. It creates surprise as visitors wander between dream and reality where they are immersed in a strange universe, imbued with mystery, like the largely unexplored deep sea bed, which represents an extraordinary territory for the imagination.
Through the theme of the Abyss, the exhibition explores our relationship with the living, visible or invisible. Questioning the notion of artificial life, the various installations and works question the fragility of these ecosystems and the biodiversity to be preserved. The exhibition seeks to recreate the conditions for a symbiosis between man and this reinvented aquatic nature.
The aim is not to illustrate the memory of this place, but to make it the starting point of a new story inspired by the deep sea: the abyss".


Strolling along the deep sea floor

01_RADIOLAR 2018 - 50 m x 3 m
Installed in the entrance of the Submarine Base, this light creation is based on the observation of microscopic animal plankton, the radiolarians. Miguel Chevalier transposes here the geometry of these extraordinary shapes into the digital universe. On the ground, luminescent radiolarians are projected along the length of the corridor, plunging to the bottom of the ocean.
02_ATLANTIC 2015 - Printed canvas, 20 m X 8 m
This monumental work evokes Atlantis, an island between fiction and reality, which would have been swallowed up during protohistory. This large format refers to the concrete architecture of the submarine base and provokes a feeling of infinity, which draws us into unknown depths.
Miguel Chevalier revisits the 16th and 17th century cabinet of curiosities, and proposes 4 different contemporary cabinets of curiosities composed of sculptures made by 3D printing, videos, digital prints, Dacryl resin paintings, engravings and laser cut-outs. These works are inspired by the fauna and the underwater forest, more particularly corals, jellyfish, microscopic animal plankton, such as radiolarians. These luminescent works, immersed in darkness, between reality and fiction, stage a kind of imaginary travel diary. These "wonders" of all kinds, here provoke surprise, fascination and meditation on a world recreated from scratch.
04_KELP FOREST 2018 14 m x 11 m
As light as it is airy, this huge installation hangs from the ceiling like a jungle of luminescent kelp algae. Made from an assembly of 1,500 micro fuo structures interlocked with each other and lit by ultraviolet light, it emerges from the darkness like a rhizome of light.
Generative and interactive virtual reality installation 9 m x 2.90 m Software: Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret For this virtual reality installation, the artist proposes a generative and interactive dynamic painting. The work represents a liquid or gaseous universe that evokes the flows released by hydrothermal mounts (geological formations of chimneys in the depths of the seas). The movement of the spectator creates a trail of dark colour that mixes and fuses with the work before slowly fading away until the next passage of a visitor. Pixels Liquides 2018 is inspired by the gestural painting of the 1950s when artists were one with their canvas, here it is the visitors who are one with the screen.
06_PIXELS INFINITE 2008 - 2010
The exhibition route is punctuated by 2D luminous works that invite the visitor to plunge into the infinite universe of light. These works are composed of different pixel frames set in abyss by a double mirror without tint. In contrast to the research carried out in the 1960s by artists such as Alain Jacquet and Roy Lichtenstein, Miguel Chevalier has developed a style of writing here that is no longer based on the enlargement of a grid of offset dots, but on a grid of pixels. It is a specific approach to digital art where the pixel becomes the basic element like an iconography of our 21st century society.
07_FOREIGN TRACTORS 2018 - Generative and interactive virtual reality installation 6.90 m x 2.90 m Software: Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret
A generative and interactive virtual reality installation, Attractors Strange is composed of volutes of colors capturing the movement of visitors. These come to disturb and parasitize the dancing curves of the work which are reflected on the ground like a water mirror. These fluid forms evoke the lightness of algae and bioluminescent jellyfish floating in the water. Time seems suspended.
08_THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD 2018 - Interactive and generative virtual reality installation 12 m x 5 m Software: Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret
This installation is inspired by biology, marine microorganisms and cellular automata. The movement of visitors creates disturbances, ripples, in the trajectory of these cells. The sinuous curves that undulate, revive the psychedelic influences of the 1970s and disturb the senses like vertigo in the depths.
09_BINARY PARTICLES 2018 - 21 m x 19 m x 10 m
This installation consists of 1 and 0 chromes, inflated with helium floating in space. These two numbers are the symbolic representation of two logical states of the intimacy of the operation of the computer machine. These signs manage billions of data, shape our environment and constitute this nebula called information.
10_THE PIXEL WAVE 2018 - 4.50 m x 3 m generative virtual reality installation Software: Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret
This projection is a random succession of different multicoloured graphic tables composed of thousands of patterns in reference to the digital world. Pixel frames, graphic symbols linked to digital (computer keyboards, USB, ON/OFF, USB key...) make up a wave with more or less slow movements. This fluid universe of ebb and flow disturbs visitors' perceptions by creating a sensation of a living fluid aquatic bottom projected on this concrete base immersed in water.
11_NEW ATLANTIUM 2018 - Generative and interactive virtual reality installation 3.60 m x 9.50 m Software: Claude Micheli
This installation represents an imaginary city swallowed up by the waves. The wired buildings that make it up are perpetually transformed and scroll without beginning or end. New Atlantis telescopes the eras and projects the visitor into an architecture of cyberspace that is now only an immense network, impossible to travel through and to know in its entirety. Through an interface via an iPad, the visitor can explore different "cities", moving from left to right, from top to bottom. Between fiction and reality, this work invites visitors to read and experience the city differently thanks to a limitless imagination.
12_DIGITAL ABYSSES 2018 Music: Michel Redolfi - Generative and interactive virtual reality installation 3 x 6 m Software: Claude Micheli
Digital Abysses is a series of projections on the ground like water bubbles. On the surface of these carpets of light, different virtual organisms - radiolarians, protists, plankton, etc. - develop in real time, reacting to the movements of the visitors as if to insist on the action of man on nature. This installation plunges visitors into an intriguing universe, amplified by the music of composer Michel Redolfi.
13_FRACTAL SEAWEEDS 2018 - Interactive and generative virtual reality installation 12 m x 8 m Software: Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret
This installation is inspired by underwater fauna and flora, such as algae and anemones. Aquatic plants and giant corals of different colours and shapes are randomly generated ad infinitum and bloom before disappearing before the eyes of visitors. True "flowers of the sea", they reveal geometric shapes pushed to the extreme. This intriguing aquatic universe reacts to the passage of the visitor as he moves, creating a strange and mysterious dialogue with him.

An artist between imagination and virtualities

Miguel Chevalier was born in 1959 in Mexico City. He lives and works in Paris. Since 1978, he has been using computers as a means of expression in the field of visual arts. He has established himself internationally as one of the pioneers of virtual and digital art. His work, experimental and multidisciplinary, is rooted in the history of art, whose essential data he reformulates.
Her work addresses the question of immateriality in art, as well as computer-induced logics such as hybridization, generativity, interactivity, networking. It develops different themes, such as the relationship between nature and artifice, the observation of flows and networks that organize our contemporary societies, the imaginary of architecture and virtual cities, the transposition of motifs from Islamic art in the digital world. The images he delivers us perpetually question our relationship to the world. The artist tackles questions related to the themes of Surfrider Foundation Europe, which he has approached in order to mature his reflections. Indeed, both of them wish to raise public awareness about the environment through art.
Miguel Chevalier realizes numerous exhibitions in museums, art centres and galleries all over the world and also projects in public and architectural spaces.
News about the artist in 2018 :
- Artists & Robots Group exhibition Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (France) From April 5 to July 9, 2018
- Al Musica Group exhibition Philharmonie de Paris (France) From April 6 to August 19, 2018
- Ubiquity 1, 2018 Solo exhibition, The Mayor Gallery, London (UK) April 12 to June 1 - 2018
- Ubiquity 2, 2018 Solo exhibition, Wilmotte Gallery, London (UK) From April 13 to June 15, 2018 Museum Flowers Group exhibition organised with the Musée Ingres, Médiathèque de Montauban (France) From May 18 to December 8, 2018
Exhibition from March 9 to May 20, 2018 at the Bordeaux Submarine Base - Boulevard Alfred Daney - 33 300 Bordeaux
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 1.30 pm to 7 pm during the exhibitions. Closed on Mondays and public holidays.
For information, Miguel Chevalier has a participatory financing project for his next monograph on the site KissKissBankBank.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
arts and cultures
Previous article

Paper path, the illustration and its margins

Willliam Klein photographer
Next article

William Klein Retrospective at Polka Gallery

Latest articles from ARTS & CULTURES



Already registered? I'm connecting

Register and read three articles for free. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news.

→ Register for free to continue reading.



You have received 3 free articles to discover UP'.

Enjoy unlimited access to our content!

From $1.99 per week only.