Having worked for many years around constructed functional forms, ranging from bunkers and luxury villas (Derniers paysages 1, 2004-2011 and Derniers paysages III, 2011-2013) to industrial forms (Ex Machina, 2014 - 2019) and recent medtech technological elements (Vanités, 2018 – 2020), Sébastien Mettraux developed an interest in more organic forms which, from a point of view of mathematics and computer technology, are more unpredictable and complex.
Based on his observations of nature (plants, organs, geological structures, roots), he then began to create. Focussing his interest on the essence of these structures and their analogies, the result consists in hybrid forms that sometimes flirt with abstraction without ever really reaching it. He is fascinated by the concept of randomness and chaos that is inherent in certain natural subjects (for example, it is impossible to calculate or to predict precisely the trajectory of smoke, or of the root of a plant). In this regard, one of his 3D animation films associated with the series presents a network of roots growing slowly in a disorderly manner, to the point where it invades and totally blacks out the screen. It is fascinating to know that should our civilisation disappear totally, 300,000 years of existence would be wiped out in no time. Plants would fairly quickly overgrow the largest cities, leaving little trace of our passage.
Since late spring 2022, Sébastien Mettraux has been marked by the flagrant effects of the drought in the region of his birth, involving changes in the colours of the landscapes that are familiar to him. His artist's residency at the Bridderhaus in Esch-sur-Alzette began in July 2022 with a heatwave in Europe. He thus found it difficult to continue to delight in a nature that human beings had manifestly destroyed. Mettraux then began to paint new canvases, still organic, exclusively with the help of computer-generated fractals.
There is nothing tangible about these forms created solely from a code. They sometimes seem to be vegetal, sometimes liquid or gravity-free. The artist attempts to recover a form of contemplation, replacing nature with a computer code in which he selects excerpts to be transcribed in paint. Computer technology thus functions as a sort of Giverny garden.
For 6 weeks the code and the fractals generated have been his only subject, providing the name for this exhibition: Ex Codice.