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January 4 – 7, 2023
January 19 – March 4, 2023
808 Gallery

Mathemalchemy [ma-thə-ˈmal-kə-mē]

  1. A portmanteau describing the transformational influence of art on mathematics and mathematics on art;
  2. A collaborative art-math / math-art installation imagined and fabricated by 24 core mathemalchemists representing a diverse range of mathematical and artistic experience and expertise.

Li-Mei Lim, a research professor of mathematics and statistics at CAS, explains the “Zeno’s Paradox” section of Mathemalchemy to visitors at the installation’s opening reception on January 20.

While Fibonacci Spirals and fractals can be found throughout Mathemalchemy, its creators were determined to represent the intersection of math and art in ways that had never before been explored.

Lim credits Dominique Ehrmann, a fiber artist and a founding Mathemalchemist, with teaching her the fundamentals of quilting. The two collaborated with Mary Williams, a mathematician and fellow fiber artist, to create a “Cryptography Quilt” for the show.

Mathemalchemy is a mathematical art installation conceived by Duke professor Ingrid Daubechies and Canadian fiber artist Dominique Ehrmann. A core team of 24 artistic mathematicians and mathematical artists, including Boston University professor Li-Mei Lim, came together to develop and fabricate the exhibit, which invites viewers into a beautiful and playful world of mathematics. Through a variety of mediums and several narrative scenes, Mathemalchemy resonates with viewers on many levels and shows them that anyone can be a mathematician. 

Mathemalchemy was supported by funding from BU Arts Initiative.

Art and Math Converge in New Show at 808 Gallery

Two dozen artistic mathematicians and mathematical artists celebrate the fun, creativity, and beauty in math.

The question behind the new exhibition on view at the 808 Gallery through March 4 isn’t how math influences art. 

If you can picture the tessellated ceiling of an antique mosque, a meticulously counterbalanced classical sculpture, or Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, then you’re already somewhat familiar with the concept.

The question is how art influences math.

Mathemalchemy is the brainchild of 24 people from across North America, all existing “somewhere on this spectrum from mathematician to artist,” according to collaborator Li-Mei Lim, a research professor of number theory at the College of Arts & Sciences.

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