Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (2011-2012)

A large number of mathematicians and scientists contributed to the creation of this exhibition, and eight of them acted as its overseers: SIR MICHAEL ATIYAH, JEAN-PIERRE BOURGUIGNON, ALAIN CONNES, NICOLE EL KAROUI, MISHA GROMOV, GIANCARLO LUCCHINI, CÉDRIC VILLANI and DON ZAGIER. Representing a wide range of geographical backgrounds and mathematical disciplines, they work in areas such as number theory, algebraic geometry, differential geometry, topology, partial differential equations, probability, mathematics applied to biology…

They were accompanied by nine artists chosen for their exceptional ability to listen, as well as for their great sense of curiosity and wonder. All of these artists have exhibited at the Fondation Cartier in the past: JEAN-MICHEL ALBEROLA, RAYMOND DEPARDON AND CLAUDINE NOUGARET, TAKESHI KITANO, DAVID LYNCH, BEATRIZ MILHAZES, PATTI SMITH, HIROSHI SUGIMOTO and TADANORI YOKOO, as well as Pierre Buffin and his crew (BUF). They worked together to transform the abstract thinking of mathematics into a stimulating experience for the mind and the senses, an experience accessible to everyone.

There’s a huge publication that accompanies this exhibition. It features interviews with each artist and mathematician, asking things like whether they dream about mathematics and what a quote about scientific feeling inspires in them – a different set of questions for the two groups, artists and mathematicians. It turns out that Cedric Villani is a creepy sexist.

David Lynch and Patti Smith made this:

There’s an article about the show itself here:

There are a number of essays and conversations, neatly colour-coded, and a section at the back that presents a number of spreads exploring mathematical concepts, situations and universe. I’ll come back to one of these.

The show looks interesting but rather non-physical, just like the one I curated last year. It seems that people start thinking about mathematics and immediately start thinking virtually.

2016-01-22 18.33.58


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