Contemporary Discoveries

Contemporary Discoveries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 359. Wonderland Entropy.

Harvey Rayner

Wonderland Entropy

Lot Closed

March 15, 04:57 PM GMT


30,000 - 40,000 USD

Lot Details


Harvey Rayner

b. 1975

Wonderland Entropy


Wonderland Entropy

print on German etching paper

print: 42 by 63 in. 106.7 by 160 cm

framed: 45 by 66 in. 114.3 by 167.6 cm.

Executed in 2023.


Wonderland Entropy

non-fungible token ERC-721

smart contract address: 0xDDC7C02a8cb78F01AbE21CFEbE817115218D26fd

token ID: 1

metadata: jpg

minted in 2023, ed. 1/1.

The artist.

Algorithmic distillation

“A flight from the unknown to the unknown”.


For 20 years I mostly made 1 of 1s. I don’t feel that prior to NFT the term 1 of 1s was a necessary classification as most art was not created as part of a finite series and was — well — 1 of 1 by default. Having been focused entirely on Long form generative art for the last year the task of making a 1 of 1 coming from this mode of practice now seems like an entirely new challenge, although in a sense I am just coming full circle.

Transitioning from making curated generative art 1 of 1s to building Long form algorithms where every output has to count artistically was a steep learning curve. Now moving in the other direction and taking an algorithm with a lot of variation and trimming it’s space of expression down to a single island of compositional possibilities at first feels like willfully breaking an algorithm — robbing it of its complexity and unpredictability. However, having now traversed this territory with ‘Wonderland Entropy’, I feel it’s more of a process of distillation. To gain anything in art we must simultaneously lose something else. The converse is of course also true. By sacrificing the purity of a blank canvas we gain our first step towards birthing something the world has never seen before. Taking this still further I also feel the bigger the sacrifice the bigger the potential gain. If we only cull crap from a project then the result might just be more crap. There has to be some magic in the recycle bin. Why is this so? From the Ancient Greeks we have the expression, “the sum of parts must be greater than the whole”. Sometimes a part, although brilliant, brings too much attention to itself at the cost of the whole. Like a great team every part must be working towards the same goal while at the same time bringing their own unique talents to the group.

So in the process of algorithmic distillation variation is sacrificed and what is gained is the potential for a very concise and particular expression. Starting this process with a varied algorithm is like having a raft to sail into new artistic territory to find a perfect location for a home with the best view. If building a long form project is like writing a novel with all its complex interrelationships and grand overarching themes, building an algorithmic 1 of 1 is like writing a love poem: very self contained, intimate and personal.

With this work I was clear from the outset what the compositional space should be. In my mind I was picturing certain Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable and David Hockney landscapes. For me these pieces all display a certain archetypal pictorial space. This can be summarized as a distant horizon established in the mid right of the canvas. In the foreground a pathway leading into the pictorial space from the bottom left. Central and to the left of the canvas are dynamic voluminous forms that have a directional arching thrust up and to the right.

This simple yet precise spatial model was one of the key starting points of this work. The other half of the artistic ‘vision’ for Wonderland Entropy is more of an inner dreamlike vision. A vision I’m calling an Algorithmic Disney dystopia. Vibrant, colorful and energetic forms coupled with a sense of disorder, decay and discoloration. Synthetic cartoonery and ridiculous geometry combined with deep organic texture and waveform entrail-like artifacts. In this visual story I can see a landscape at the edge of a bizarre world both simultaneously jubilant and menacing. A place where the last remnants of structure and order are in the final stages of disintegration. Think alien Disney world being pulled apart in the event horizon of a black hole, being stretched and scrambled into an abyss of eternal entropy. Welcome to my peculiar imagination! The generative algorithm combined with the power of randomness seems to me to be a way for the artist to explore such a strange inner landscape and crystallize it into a concise and powerfully expressive composition.