Jean-Michel Alberola
A Mathematical Sky – Henri Poincaré
Installation view »Open Codes«, photo © ZKM | Karlsruhe, photo: Steffen Harms

Jean-Michel Alberola
*1953 in Saïda (DZ), lives and works in Paris (FR)

»A Mathematical Sky – Henri Poincaré«
2011, installation on the wall and 2 mathematical models

Henri Poincaré’s main scientific works, and also important scientific findings, theories from the field of mathematics and physics, which influenced Poincaré and shaped Western mathematics and physics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are represented on this »celestial map«. The »stars« are linked to each other by lines, representing the relations between these theories.

Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) made numerous contributions to the field of mathematics, physics, and philosophy. He is often described as the last universalist in mathematics. Much of his research involved interactions between different mathematical topics, and his broad understanding of the whole spectrum of knowledge allowed him to attack problems from many different angles. He also wrote many popular scientific publications including »The Value of Science« (1905) in which he deals particularly with the relationship between intuition and logic.

Clearly it is not only the scientific achievements that make Poincaré’s work important, but also his approach to science, which has widely influenced the way that logic and intuition are perceived. Two terms, which are crucially important, and are still in conflict in today’s computing.


Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
Lenders models: 
Mathematical Institute, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Archive, Collection of Mathematical Models, Karlsruhe
Conceived in collaboration with Giancarlo Lucchini with the support of the Institut Henri Poincaré