The Nature Of Multiplicity

Written by Patrick Chevalier. Posted in The Nature Of Multiplicity

The Nature of Multiplicity (1994) (N.o.M)

The conceptual framework of Nature of Multiplicity (N.o.M) is an offshoot of the body of works named “Peripheral Vision Art” (P.V.A) which I elaborated for a thematic exhibition in sept. of 1994. They share a formal link on account of the size of each element (1 1/8" x 15/16”) but the role for these elements differ dramatically because in N.o.M the main concept is not the individual element but that of the pluralism of the elements which form a single mutable and multi-contextual object.

A nom-concept posterA nom-concept poster

Where the works for the first exhibition were conceived as static art pieces based on a zany art philosophy, the conceptual requirements for N.o.M offer the genuine goal of transmuting the act of creation into that of interpretation through interactivity. The projects inception focuses on the paradoxical meanings that are formed (or that are inherited) between space and the elements that inhabit it. Each created element represent a medium of expression for: form, aesthetic, communication, access, participation and even stake holding.

Each singular element holds inner content and meaning when it is the focal point of observation and it is all the more evident when the element is set singularly and alone in exposition. Conceptually the element and ground are referential but separate, the element the background. But once a second element is placed in exposition “next” to an additional work or content the reference is divided and the context is expanded and so is the context for each element. Both elements form a relationship between each other while each have an inner space; but the outer space becomes more evident as well and so the background begins to split and so does context change depending on each elements position. When even more elements (content) are added more relations and more divisions of space are formed and context becomes more complex and eventually expands into a chaotic mass. This mass should remain comprehensible or readable and is The Nature of Multiplicity.

A nom-concept poster

Imagine there are thousand elements to track and the elements field escape the viewers field of vision it is hoped that the later will be submerged in a visual chaos closely relating to static which hopefully and hopefully will encourage the viewer to interact with the element and reshape it.

A nom-concept poster

It is hoped that N.o.M. will encourage this quest for playfulness, creativity and search for meaning and in of itself, the recorded interaction, yield an even changing stream of creation form its collaborators, first as interpreters keeping the work fluid within an expanding platform but that in turn encourage further creative impulse to manifestations to further the contemplation and manipulation of the whole. 

A nom-concept poster

The concept of the Nature of Multiplicity also then accidentally explores many other perceptual concepts such as the paradoxical relationships inherited between the microcosmic and macrocosmic nature of the world. It is hoped that the expanding polyptych will demonstrate this and a multitude of aesthetic and contextual values that can and will express itself withinin a classical, modern and contemporary art form while the work continues to grows.

As the work is created by a single individual (myself) this interpretation will also be subverted into further interpretation of the multitude as each element removed from the whole compels its audience to participate back to replace the loss of multiplicity.  It is hoped that in the participation there will be inception of thought but also production of new elements that form the whole of N.o.M. with of course some coaxing elements. The blank canvases of N.o.M. 

The future iterations of the inception for N.o.M. will be to ensure and epic critical mass of contributions to the work in order to create a truer expression of meaning into the work and in some sense create a communal work that exchanges with its world. The life of the work will be determined by the response and participation to the works inherent message in the long term, which is that N.o.M. is a participative creative work of art meant to live of its successive loss of cohesion and regeneration of through the exchange of its own elemental body. Making N.o.M. a living work of art.

The Nature of Multiplicity Incepted

The life of the work will be determined by time and the response to the works inherent message.

N.o.M. is an ambitious work in scale and meaning as it is one that I wish could remain in the state of inception indefinitely. Indeed, considering that it has taken me close to 10 years to create 5000 pieces I have succinctly proven this point to myself and yet it behooves me to accelerate the pace of production so I may share it with you.

This first push of inception of the Nature of Multiplicity produced an extnat series of more than 4500 individual works of art. Each work measures 1 15/16" x 7/8" and each individual piece treated as an element of a greater work. N.o.M is therefore a large work in composed of elements carefully manipulated selected and recorded. Each piece is created from mixed supports grounds and mediums in order to impart as much variety or multiplicity as possible in for the pictorial affect, the local values and its larger pictorial identity. When exposed in its entirety the work is exhibited on a large support forming a grid patters creating a what can be considered a damp colour field. The initial dimension of this personal work is approximately 51 8402 inches or a surface and so 45' (13.716 m) wide x 8' (2.438 m) high as it readies for official exposition. More than 10 000 elements must be produce to cover such a space and to have the desired effect.

I have set this initial personal contributions as I believe it is the minimun ammount of works needed to acheive a critical mass that will simulate the minimum desired effect of the envisionned larger work. An effect that will spark a substantial and enthusiastic reaction to its diversification.

This initial production of elements is a symbolic gesture on my part as a founder of the Nature of Multiplicity. A means of ‘belonging’ to the work and in no way being sole owner or creator of the work. What is more I have estimated that if this work is to be successful and and stable so as to encourage growthe for the duration of a typical exhibition (up to two weeks) it must be able to regenerate as much loss from its integrity through ongoing chain of creation of inception and dissipation. In other words any pieces sold or given to support the project would have to be replaced in order to overcome the deficit and encourage its growth.

The true life cycle of the work will be determined by the response to the works of its inherent message on its gallery circuits. The message of N.o.M. is a participative one. To create a communal work of art which is meant to live a life of its own, provide multiple meanings by its manipulation and grow in aesthetics variations, meaning through the communal reintegration of and exchange of its elements.

Naturally the second stage of N.o.M. is therefore to be contributed by the viewer.  Participating visitors, novices and experts alike, will be encouraged to take from and put back to the work in order to regenerate the word but also attach other personal meanings to the work. Only then will the work find its true value. 

Within a grander optic N.o.M is to travel and growing as a work of art and I would truly love that it moves from small to large venues onwards through independent spaces and other galleries and hopefully to art biennales as a work representing international and worldly multiplicity.

Nature of Multiplicity (1994-2019) Extant Works

The Nature of Multiplicity remains this day in pre-embryonic state and in some sense a work largely created by myself with exceptions of to a few praise worthy participants within my circle of friends and family such as Allan Sutt who created up to 400 elements of N.o.M. and  Anaïs Glassey who created a dozen or so elements separate from the works that I’ve engendered, Brigitte Chevalier who was instrumental at polishing and preparing the first 4500 pieces created; and last but not least Guy Chevalier (my father) who has recorded these same pieces and created a virtual gallery dedicated to promoting the work in progress.

Because of the limited opportunity to pursuing a full time creation process I have been making these pieces on a part-time and basis. As it is stands NoM was exhibited once as in a micro gallery in Ottawa Ontario at the Terminal Gallery with a total of 3500 works to which I am eternally grateful to Mechelle Gostick for assisting in installing the exhibit, Chris Healy of Terminal Gallery for believing in the work and who was instrumental in securing the space for the first exhibit of N.o.M. and to Amy Garder and Erik Wynn for promoting the exhibit.

Thanks to this exhibit and to an interview at the Gallery by Gary Haze host of Artscape at the time some of N.o.M. (more than 400 works) have been scattered about, some may even have been sent to Italy according to one patron. Only time will tell if more pieces come to rejoin these far flung elements.

Addendum - The Nature of Multiplicity in it's extant form continues to evolve and is presently at more than 6000 works. Keeping this in mind the search for an exhibition place is becoming urgent as the objective will soon be reached for it's release and a second fase of the concept will begin.  The image below gives the viewer peek at what a partial exhibition will look like.  Note - only works created in Paris between 2015 - 2020 are seen here.

nomBoiteASoulier 1

To view the complete work in it's present state and view close ups of individual works please see the virtual of extant work on my site dedicated to the Nature of Multiplicity.

Or to see via lightbox :


The Nature of Multiplicity a misnomer?

As I was working, cataloguing and creating promotional material for the N.o.M. project this summer 2020 it came to my mind that perhaps I have come to misname my project.- Or perhaps is it that after all this time I have missed or ignored an important detail and characteristic to the work. Perhaps underscoring multiplicity in this Mass Art piece is more a means dissimulate the fact that it is a manifestation and demonstration of evolution and decay – a demonstration of entropy.

Perhaps rather than calling it The Nature of Multiplicity it should be named the Nature of Entropy. It is likely both but one rings truer than the other as multiplicity in the context of the next step in the life of the art work is for it to be exposed and in turn it’s elements taken away and scattered about the world never to return as a whole in one place. Indeed what even in it’s next incarnation the Nature of Multiple Multiplicities coming from other contributing artists will the process once again be repeated.

 Patrick Chevalier - July 2020