Extra-Natural by Miguel Chevalier


With their splendor and diversity flowers have always captivated us. They possess great symbolic power – whether in mythology, religion, art or politics. In earlier centuries, flowers were coveted status symbols, today they are traded globally as a mass product.

Currently, the flower is coming into focus as a fragile yet indispensable component of our global eco-system. With objects from art, design, fashion and natural science, Flowers Forever offers a fascinating, elaborately staged tour through the cultural history of flowers from antiquity to the present day.

The presentation comprises around one hundred and seventy works from international collections as well as installations created especially for the exhibition. Important examples from the histories of art and design enter into a fruitful dialog with new artistic approaches.

The exhibition features works by Jan Brueghel the Younger, Abraham Mignon, Barbara Regina Dietzsch, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Hannah Höch, Andreas Gursky, Miguel Chevalier, Ann Carrington, Patricia Kaersenhout, Kehinde Wiley, DRIFT, and many other artists.

They all bring the multifaceted cultural history of flowers to life in impressive ways. Miguel Chevalier presents in the exhibition, a lush virtual garden “Extra-Natural” that plunges visitors into a re-invented nature between dream and reality, like in Alice in Wonderland.

This 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.

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. 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. 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 … These artificial paradises seek to create a new relationship with nature, to recreate the conditions of a symbiosis between human and nature. Source by Miguel Chevalier.

  • Location: Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, Germany
  • Artist: Miguel Chevalier
  • Exhibition: Flowers Forever
  • Dates: 3rd of February to 27th of August
  • Year: 2023
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Miguel Chevalier