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Swirling Algorithms Transform French Impressionist Scenes

Quayola's 'Jardins d'Été ' synthesizes a château garden into surreal digital paintings.

by Kevin Holmes
23 December 2016, 2:50pm

Last year visual artist Quayola digitally morphed the Provence countryside in southern France, the sort that inspired Vincent van Gogh, using custom software. In a homage to van Gogh's Expressionist style. Quayola manipulated high def footage of swaying trees through image­ analysis and algorithms until they became high-resolution abstractions, liquefying before your eyes.

In a new artwork, Jardins d'Été, Quayola is again back in France toying with nature, memory, and reality, but this time morphing the floral gardens of the 10th century castle the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire. In a nod to the French Impressionists and its founder Claude Monet—in particular the painter's Water Lilies series on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie in France—Quayola filmed the flowers and plants in ultra HD at night during strong winds. 


Image courtesy of the artist


Image courtesy of the artist

Using custom software, the artist then produced a series of 4K video paintings which imitate the swiftly applied brush strokes of Impressionism and investigate "the ways in which nature is observed, studied and synthesized, becoming a point of departure towards abstraction."


Image courtesy of the artist

The software analyzed the footage through color schemes, motion—optical flow, frame difference, movement intensity—composition and texture, using this data as the basis to create "new algorithmic paintings."

In the videos the natural motions of the flowers merge and erupt with the colors, backgrounds, and forms to create a surreal but spellbinding blend of movement, style, and content—muddying the perceived distinctions in a nod to how we recall and recount reality.


Image courtesy of the artist

"The way they come back in sight, as if returning from intangible obscurity, evokes a dance movement," writes art historian Camilla Pietrabissa in an essay that accompanied the installation's preview. "Gradually, bouncing strokes of pinks, blues and greens scratch away the matter that kept them secluded. It is as if the plants themselves were demanding visibility, prompted by some natural instinct."


Installation view. Image courtesy of the artist


Image courtesy of the artist

The premiere of Jardins d'Été was in Zurich on December 13, 2016, and it will be touring in various setups throughout 2017.  Learn more about Jardins d'Été hereLearn more about Quayola's work at his website here

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