A Painter's Thesis
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Guy Levrier

28 May 1996

Bell's theorem1 shows that quantum mechanics cannot be interpreted in terms of local deterministic theory; it has been called "the most profound discovery of science."2 It proves that any reality can only be non-local,3 i.e. that we live in a holistic universe, in which the whole acts on the part and vice-versa : This interconnectedness is my source of inspiration.

There are two reasons I was attracted to quantum physics. First, I found in it all the metaphors I needed to "explain" my personal, ontological adventure in art through painting. I was mostly fascinated by the fact that since at the microscopic level our observation of matter disturbs the observed phenomenon, we cannot be sure of what reality is per se. On the other hand, what strikes us most when we observe our universe, which is made of that same matter, is its beauty. Consequently, I feel that beauty means more for us than reality, and that we have more certainties about beauty than we have about reality.

The second reason is the fact that, to me, quantum physics is both the scientific development that broke science's materialistic approach and the bridge between science and the human mind. This is also the feeling of some scientists: "The centerpiece of this new paradigm is the recognition that modern science validates an ancient idea—the idea that consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all being."4

This is the spiritual aspect of the matter: Einstein felt that science is a passion that requires the "state of mind of monks and lovers ... looking for the universe of objective contemplation and understanding."5

Of course we cannot try to find precise common denominators between art and science; however, I find it challenging—and disturbing—to compare, at least in terms of inspiration, three paintings from the standpoint of authorship. Looking at the three paintings, the viewer may wonder whether there were one, two or three painters who created them, and from what origin(s), scientific or artistic (literary)—the painters came. I hope you will find the answer interesting: the first two works appeared on the front and back covers of Leonardo, 27, no. 3 (1994). The first was one created by L. Alcopley, a rheologist, the second by Jacques Mandelbrojt, a quantum physicist, and the third one (shown in Fig.3) by me, a simple artist, who has no scientific background whatsoever, except for a fascination with the philosophical consequences of quantum physics. Is not the resemblance between the three paintings striking?6 Connections such as these are why I feel that common investigations should happen between artists, scientists and sprititualists, as suggested partially by Leonardo's vocation of documenting the fusion of art and science. I describe my personal effort toward this end—through beauty—in my homepage on the Internet, at the following address:


I am hoping to generate sufficient momentum among people of goodwill to obtain concrete results.

____________________________________________ References and Notes

1 F. David Peat, Einstein's Moon (Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1990), p.112.

2 H. Stapp, Nuovo Cimento 40B, 191 (1977)

3 Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1985), p.51. According to Herbert, "Arguing from quantum theory plus a bit of arithmetic, Bell was able to show that any model of reality whatsoever—whether ordinary or contextual—must be non-local. Bell's theorem has since been proved entirely in terms of quantum facts. No reference to quantum theory is necessary. In its most up-to-date version, Bell's theorem reads: The quantum facts plus a bit of arithmetic require that reality be non-local. In a local reality, influences cannot travel faster than light. Bell's theorem says that in any reality of this sort, information does not get around fast enough to explain the quantum facts: reality must be non-local."

4 Amit Goswami, The Self-Aware Universe (New York: Putnam, 1993), p.2.

5 Quoted in Jean Eisenstaedt, "Chercheurs ou artistes ? Un point de vue très relatif," in Série Mutations, No. 158 (Editions Autrement, 1995), p.93.

6 I made this painting three years before Alcopley's and Mandelbrojt's painting's were published on the covers of Leonardo 27, No. 3 (1994)

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Figure 1. L. Alcopley (Black and White)

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Figure 2. J. Mandelbrojt (Black and white)

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Figure 3. Guy Levrier, Untitled, oil painting, 100x81 cm, 1991.
A case of convergence between two scientific minds and one purely artistic one: why does a simple painter paint like two scientists?

I invite you to see more of my paintings, about 250 of them, by clicking here: