, , , , , , ,

As genuine Art Nouveau lovers, I am sure you have all seen the picture of that so called Art Nouveau Villa in Bucharest in your Social Media Bubble by now. It is not an existing villa though. It is a digital creation of Thierry Lechanteur from Liège, Belgium.

When these kind of pictures started popping-up, I initially doubted myself. How did I not know of this building? How could I have missed this? A little digging soon assured me. I did not miss anything. This ‘thing’ simply didn’t exist before last week.

At first I tried to explain to people in the comments under those posts that the picture was a digital image created by Lechanteur using Midjourney AI. And that the building does not really exist. But nobody seemed to care. Apparently, people want to believe what they see. They don’t seem to care if it is the truth. And that worries me. It worries me quite a bit.

According to the information on Lechanteurs website, he is preparing for an exhibition this summer at the Cuban Embassy in Brussels, a real Art Nouveau building from 1901, designed by Victor Horta. The exhibition will be in the context of Art Nouveau Brussels 2023. And the purpose of the exhibition – above all – is to provoke a debate and ask questions about the use of artificial intelligence in art. To highlight issues and controversies related to the use of AI in artistic creation. Controversies like these:

  • Questioning the definition of art (is an AI creation art or not?)
  • Exploring creativity (is an AI creation creativity or copying?)
  • Debating authorship (is AI the real creator or (s)he who gave instructions?)
  • Raising ethical questions (about intellectual property for instance)

I found an interesting quote from an art critic: “When a work of art originates in intellectual deliberation, it is doomed. Every great work of art starts from the heart, the heart must even have the upper hand. What does not touch us deep down in our being is formulaic work and therefore worthless in a higher sense.” Frits Lapidoth in De Nieuwe Courant of 12 October 1917.

Does immersing oneself in an AI-world take away problems of the real world?

But there is more to it. I would like to raise one more question: Why do these AI-generated pictures of Art Nouveau buidings get só many likes? What is going on here? Could it be that they give us something that real and existing architecture does not? Could it be that these imaginary buildings satisfy a craving for beauty that the actual buildings surrounding us do not?

I already touched this subject in my post of November 2015 Art Nouveau is Back! where I wrote that “we are beginning to realise that we need quality rather than quantity. ‘Made in China’ doesn’t do it anymore and slowly but steadily, crafts are being rehabilitated.” People need beautiful things to surround them in order to cope with the ugliness of the real world.

Yet does immersing oneself in an AI-world take away the problems of the real world? Would it be enough to simply ignore reality and ‘live in a bubble’? Or should we look at our reality and try to change that reality? Should we accept faceless mass-produced buildings or should we revert to creating beautiful buildings again? And do today’s architects still have what it takes?

Furthermore, we should ask ourselves if we could afford that? Let’s be realistic – we need to create lots and lots of new homes every year. But labour is expensive and raw materials are becoming scarce. Shouldn’t we then at least rescue the heritage buildings we already have instead of tearing them down and replacing them by ‘modern’ buildings?

There is a lot to think about and to discuss around this subject. I am very interested in your opinions about all these ‘modern’ issues and I would particularly like to hear from people who are working in this field professionally. Are you and artist, photographer, architect, AI-generator or a lawyer? What are your pros and cons? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Continue Reading:
AI art tools Stable Diffusion and Midjourney targeted with copyright lawsuit
AI-Created Comic Could Be Deemed Ineligible for Copyright Protection
Desinformatie Check: Neen, prachtige art-nouveauvilla bestaat niet VRT nws
Exhibition on Art Nouveau and the place of AI in artistic creation
Is A.I. Art Stealing from Artists? New Yorker
We’ve filed a law­suit chal­leng­ing Sta­ble Dif­fu­sion, a 21st-cen­tury col­lage tool that vio­lates the rights of artists


These ‘Art Nouveau-cameras’ created with AI keep showing up in my feed as well…. You should check-out the thread under this post for more Art Nouveau cameras, if you are interested to see what AI came up with. Pay special attention to how the maker of these graphics is presenting them.