Dreamed Gardens, Shanghai

14.02.17 – 28.04.17

 Miguel Chevalier

Miguel Chevalier’s fantastic digital pieces are pure “transformational” art in constant metamorphosis. They are generated in and through time, and occupy the smallest to the vastest spaces, inviting the public to interact. Virtual flowers evolve with the cycle of seasons, never repeating themselves. Unusual shapes, amazing colours, and artificial paradises are created. Massive walls projected with imagery respond to the audience through motion-detectors, disrupting and altering almost psychedelic visual elements.

Since 1982, Chevalier’s art has been dedicated to the exploration of technology. Taking references from the history of art and reformulating them using computer tools, his works investigate the flux and networks that underlie contemporary society. He is known internationally as one of the pioneers of virtual and digital art.

A recurring theme in the history of art, nature is the core theme in Chevalier’s work. He transposes it, reinvents it, and exalts it using digital tools. Chevalier questions, poetically and metaphorically, the link between nature and artifice as they coexist and enrich each other. Departing from a process that began for him at the end of the 1990s, based on the observation of the plant kingdom and its imaginary transposition within a digital universe, Chevalier creates for these works virtual seeds and flowers found in Shanghai.

Through translucent imagery, Dreamed Gardens transformed two of the glass bridges at Jing An Kerry Centre, creating an impression of a stained glass chapel in spring. During the day, the soft light and richness of colour will create a magical environment reflected on the floor and ceiling to embrace visitors. By night, the two footbridges beamed like vast suspended lanterns.

Trans-Natures turned the indoor tunnel connecting the South and North towers of the complex into a lush 360-degree garden of mysterious arborescence, hiding and revealing flowers that generate a symphony of luminescent forms and colours. Trans-Natures announces the revival of nature. The stationary frescos on the walls are accompanied by four virtual interactive flowerbeds projected on the ground, creating a fully immersive sensation. Visible during the day, Trans-Natures invites viewers to experience the grand installation Digital Water Lilies, which comes alive after sunset in the Piazza at Jing An Kerry Centre.

Digital Water Lilies is a new site-specific interactive virtual garden – a lush parterre of flowers and luminescent plants. Treasured flowers blossom, rich with symbolism and good auspices for springtime in China. African lilies, orchids, camellias, and peach blossoms come to life in a variety of sizes, colours, and shapes. They appear randomly, coming into full bloom and fading away only to be reborn. The garden renews itself time after time, constantly changing and flourishing into its summer glory, creating endless enchantment for the eyes. As visitors walk around on the 600-m2 flower carpet, the garden senses them and shifts around them, with flowers opening up paths of discovery. Visitors are free to play spontaneously and, through the physicality of their bodies, explore all the possibilities of the artwork.  They are placed at the centre of a reinvented nature – an intriguing and poetic botanical universe. As a new form of “digital Impressionism”, the title and the cosmic sensibility of the work play homage to Monet and his research into light, seasons, and nature.

Miguel Chevalier’s immersive environments place visitors at the heart of a fascinating botanical world – a synthetic but natural environment that is alive and in constant flux and transformation; a place between dreams and reality. His installations surprise us by creating a new poetic relationship between art and vegetation, and recreate the conditions of symbiosis between humankind and this reinvented nature.