I have explained why I consider that the most beautiful Mandelbrot pictures are not true art, but, at most, collector's pieces. What can be done to go beyond this status? Well, the collection itself may merit a higher rank. In this sense, a few years ago, I produced a diaporama (i.e. dissolving views with recorded sound) with such pictures. To tell it straight out, this is the packaging of the collection, but this can be done with talent and invention, in the same way as marvels can be found in pictures frames –the great achievement being to get some harmony between frames and pictures.

I must say, I was seldom convinced in the field of mere pictures. The trouble with the best Mandelbrot pictures is their richness and their too high symmetry. They are perfect in themselves and there is nothing to be added. Surely, one can always put a pretty girl in front of them; they were put into so many strange sceneries... But undoubtly, questions will arise about the relationship between the girl and the scenery; answers will be provided, again undoubtly, but I am afraid they might be somewhat artificial. Mandelbrot pictures have nothing to do with life and bodies; they cannot be said inhuman, they simply belong somewhere else.

Nevertheless, I find a few virtues to the picture on the left, because I read it mainly at a graphical level. First of all, this is the contrast of two movements. The opposition then is reinforced with the contrast of natures, life on the one hand and mathematical abstraction on the other hand. Of course, the gymnast was carefully located in the composition. Notice that the Mandelbrot picture is not among the most complicated and that it is not quite rich enough to completely fill the frame on its own.

(© Daniel Boiteau 1995)

The picture on the right shows another attempt at using Mandelbrot pieces in an artistic way. It comes from The Sentinel, a 1989 three-dimensional animation written by Bradley W. Schenck in a dark epic medieval atmosphere. You can see Mandelbrot parts (spirals and black disks) on the pillars on both sides of the door. Why not? Of course, on this scale, all the rich tiny details are lost and one cannot feel any fractal vertigo. We are just left with a discreet symbol for initiated persons -but there are always such people behind mysterious stories...

(© Bradley W. Schenck)

Image Kucoyanis  

Here is another attempt, very different from the previous ones, without human reference through any scenery or a human being. The picture must be read at a graphical level. The author plays with simple but efficient contrasts:
 - simple lines (triangle, circles) against the complex lines in the fractal,
 - contrast of vivid colours,
 - tridimensional shapes against plane figures,
 - closed lines (circles, triangle) against the trails radiating from the fractal.
All this works perfectly, but again we notice that the author has used a very simple fractal picture. Indeed, the dark blue shape has a complicated contour, but we are far from the richness in the details of the most "beautiful" Mandelbrot pictures. The question remains open: is it possible to make art from the best pieces in the collection, and how?

(© Pierre Kucoyanis and Univers Mac #73)


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Discovering the fractal world:
Introduction - Mandelbrot Exploration - Lyapounov Exploration - Von Koch Curves - IFS Fractals - Fractal Dimension - Mandelbrot Relatives - Finest Fractal Pictures - Software - Biblio and Links

Fractals and mysticism:
Introduction - The Mysticism of Infinite - Non-Euclidean Art?

A new Art?
Introduction - Fascination of Fractals - Fractals and Photography - Definitions of Art - The Colour Choice - Other Colour Choices - Fractalists Painters - Compositions with Mandelbrot - Put a pretty girl - Algorithmic Art - Beyond the "Fractal" Art