Clarity - Lightness - Reduction
Poetry for the eyes
Fibonacci Art has its roots in the Fibonacci number sequence. As with other constructive, concrete and conceptual art areas this poses a constraint on my work, maybe even a straitjacket. However, I feel that it is only a straitjacket in the way that straitjackets were straitjackets for Harry Houdini. In other words: the Fibonacci constraint, for me, is much like the metre is a constraint in poetry, it allows me to create poems for the eyes. My ambition is to use light, colors, forms, arrangements, space and substrate to a point where one does not need to appreciate or understand the mathematics behind an artwork to find the beauty and harmony in it. In my artworks I strive for clarity, lightness and reduction.
Fibonacci and his number sequence
The famous Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo da Pisa, who lived in Pisa circa 1170-1240 and became known as Fibonacci, an Italian short form of Figlio di Bonaccio (“son of Bonaccio”). The Fibonacci sequence was used in Indian mathematics as early as 450 BC to count all possible patterns of Sanskrit poetry with syllables of length two. The sequence follows an extremely simple rule that defines a number in the sequence as the sum of the previous two numbers, starting with 1 and 1:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, ⋯
Interestingly, the Fibonacci sequence is closely related to the equally famous concept of the golden ratio, as this allows the Fibonacci numbers to be calculated directly. If you divide a Fibonacci number by the next smaller one, you get a number that gets closer to the golden ratio, the larger the Fibonacci number is chosen.
The Fibonacci numbers are also hidden in Pascal’s triangle. They can even be used to create Pythagorean triples (three integer numbers a, b, c, that follow the rule a²+b²=c² ) .
For centuries, the Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio have been a subject of fascinating interest not only for mathematicians, but also for architects, artists, biologists, botanists, composers, designers, poets, psychologists and people in general. In nature itself, the Fibonacci sequence occurs in unexpected ways, e.g. in sunflowers, pine cones, pineapples and other plants. The Fibonacci numbers have even found their way into the chart analysis of stock prices.
The infinite series shows limitless and exponential growth – very similar to the growth of humanity, which is the fundamental cause of the most painful problems of our planet: hunger, poverty, environmental pollution, climate change, species extinction and many others. Only recently, with the Corona pandemic, humanity learned how different exponential growth is compared to everyday linear growth. Tellingly, Fibonacci had calculated and illustrated the sequence of numbers named after him in his Latin manuscript, Liber Abaci, published in 1202, with the exuberant growth of rabbits.
Fibonacci Art is a form of constructive, concrete and conceptual art. Similar to the neoplasticism of the Dutch avant-garde artist Piet Mondrian, Fibonacci Art imposes limitations. The simple geometric objects must follow the dimensions of the Fibonacci numbers.
Fibonacci Art is also a form of mathematical art that uses mathematical concepts to create works that are aesthetically pleasing and thought-provoking.
Mathematics is truly timeless. It is inherently pure and reduced to its core. It stretches across the globe and across the universe. It is the lingua franca in describing the world we live in: in physics, natural sciences and technology. It has an eternal beauty and speaks an undeniable truth that is independent of worldly trends and opinions.
Numbers on their own and purely mathematical art can appear sterile. It is the artist’s job to uncover and make visible the inherent beauty. I believe that artistic magic emerges precisely at the point where mathematics and art meet, where digital and analogue media meet. At this point, no understanding of mathematics is necessary to see the beauty and harmony in the work.
My art concepts follow a logic that spans the artistic media. I realize them as pictures, sculptures and mobiles.
My art is nourished by the interaction between mathematics, geometry and the artistic elements such as light, colors, shapes, composition, space and background. It strives for clarity that touches and calms the soul. My work unfolds from a minimal, essential core into a multifaceted portfolio of works. In doing so, it grows beyond mathematics and shows an aesthetic warmth and poetry.
KEYWORDS: Fibonacci Art; Constructive-concrete, conceptual Art; Mathematical Art; Kinetic Art; Golden ratio.
About Gauthier Cerf
I live and work in Zurich and am often in Berlin. With my background as a physicist and a PhD in computer science, I worked as an engineer and entrepreneur in innovative think tanks for a long time. I love thinking in abstractions and models, unconventionally, upside down. When I listen to and play works by Johann Sebastian Bach, I get inspiration and energy for my Fibonacci Art.
My Fibonacci artworks speak a simple and clear language – and yet one feels that there is more to them – more than meets the eye. The works are concise, precise, memorable, sensitive and timeless.