lecarrénoir – an exclusive NFT representing the logical reductive endpoint of art as a concept. The first piece of commercially-released anti-anti-anti-art, and a unique opportunity to own and treasure the beginnings of a brand new artistic movement. Is it just a black square, or something profoundly more?


I first came into contact with the mysterious creative force known only as l’artiste (it/it/its) during my year at Winchester School of Art in the mid 1990s. Enigma is an overused word, but I’ve never met a being who it fits more perfectly. Famously secretive, it never disclosed its address (if it even had one), and our meetings took place in and around the campus, often in the library, and sometimes the corridors. We discussed the nature of infinity, the end of time, mathematics, entropy, and many questions that could never be answered. From the beginning of our relationship, it told me of its deep fascination with 100. To l’artiste it was no mere number, but more akin to a philosophy.

It was unclear which course l’artiste was attending at Winchester, and many students were under the impression that it had no official affiliation with the renowned art school. After moving on to study Product Design at Middlesex University, I sadly lost touch with it.

Twenty or so years later, I happened across a poster during a visit to Shoreditch. It was a masterpiece of minimalism – a large white poster containing nothing more than a small black square. I knew immediately that l’artiste was responsible, and made it my mission to find it. I tucked a business card under a loose edge of the poster in the hope that it would get in touch.

Black square on a white background poster on exterior wall.
The original message from l’artiste, Shoreditch, East London, UK. Perhaps the first incarnation of what would become lecarrénoir

Nothing happened for months. I’d almost forgotten about it, until precisely 100 days had passed. At that point I received an empty voicemail on my phone. It was exactly 100 seconds in length, but as far as I could tell contained no sound whatsoever. I knew this was l’artiste‘s inimitable way of reaching out. After following a lengthy trail of obscure clues, hanging around for hours in abandoned industrial buildings, and eventually beginning to question my own sanity, I finally managed to arrange a meeting. What follows is my best attempt understand l’artiste‘s latest work – a Non-Fungible Token named lecarrénoir.

the background.

In the beginning there was nothing more than an absence of light. lecarrénoir represents a window into this time, or more accurately, lack of time. As you gaze into it you will find yourself transported to the infinite. It has [not] happened before, just as it will [not] happen again.

Eternity is temporary.


the inspiration.

Futurism. Neo-minimalism. Avant-Garde. Anti-Art. Total Reductionalism.

l’artiste is highly cognizant of (but refuses to be dictated to by) the cultural world in which its work is created and percieved. As a student of art history, it studied the works of Malevich, Lissitzky and Duchamp in what was, at times, a worrying amount of depth.

Anti-art – the rejection of traditional art forms – was a step in the right direction, but l’artiste did not consider this rejection to be sufficiently vehement. Anti-anti-art – a reactionary return to more conventional art, also known as Stuckism – reared its head in the 1960s, and it was this that inspired l’artiste to build its own movement.

If pushed to choose a term of classification for its art, l’artiste would define it as “anti-anti-anti-art”, perhaps better expressed as [-{-(-art)}]. This new form takes inspiration from the past, but merely as a warning. Its work repeats elements of the past only as a reflection on the reductive nature of entropy.

the process.

Digital art via analogue methods.
Because Every Pixel Matters.

A sketch of a black square next to a ballpoint pen.
lecarrénoir working sketch

At the start of the process, l’artiste researched the finest paints available. Unsatisfied with commercial solutions, it hired a disused chemical laboratory and set to work perfecting its own unique blend of pigments, binders, solvents and additives. It dubbed the result lenoir – a black as pure as the fabric of the universe, a picosecond before the Big Bang.

It constructed ten thousand square canvases, and began work by meticulously painting each one with one hundred coats of lenoir. No two canvases were precisely the same, as l’artiste used a wide range of different techniques in order to apply the paint. These included the use of spray cans, palette knives, airbrushes, balloons and water pistols filled with paint, and even a challenging period of faux-naïve finger-painting. The final canvas was not painted in any traditional sense. l’artiste had decided to consume nothing but squid ink for ten days and ten nights. The violent expulsions produced by this sinister liquid diet were cast directly at the masked canvas from various orifices, barely able to dry before the next purge began.

Three numbered black canvases on a wall, with black paint spattered below on the floor and a nearby chair.
Three of the ten thousand “pixel” canvases displayed on the wall of l’atriste‘s space in [LOCATION REDACTED]

Once complete, each individual canvas was scanned at ultra high resolution with a Canon Colortrac SmartLF SG44 large format scanner, in order to produce a faithful digital rendering of the art. After a painstaking manual process of cleanup, colour-grading and adjustment of levels, the scan of each canvas was then downsampled to a single pixel.

Instead of simply combining these individual pixels using already available tools such as Photoshop or Gimp, l’artiste learnt to code in Python, and wrote a custom script to perform this task. The purity of the resulting code replicated that of the art it was designed to create. Using this code, each pixel was arranged in a 100 × 100 grid, creating a perfect square. The end result — lecarrénoir — was breathtaking.

Black square on a white background displayed on a bare concrete wall.
A print of lecarrénoir on display at a very underground art show in [LOCATION REDACTED]

Despite the deceptive simplicity of the end result, the creative process was key. Those who struggle to understand art might argue that creating a facsimilie of lecarrénoir would take less than 10 seconds in Microsoft Paint, or could be completed with five clicks of the mouse in Photoshop. But would that small black square, despite being visually and digitally identical, offer the same meaning? Could it even be called [-{-(-art)}]?

lecarrénoir is not just an absence of colour or form, but a profound statement on the very nature of art itself. With its stark simplicity, it challenges us to question our assumptions about what constitutes beauty and meaning in the visual realm.

In this minimalist masterpiece, every pixel is imbued with significance. The blackness is more than a void. It’s a richly nuanced space that invites us to explore the boundaries of perception and imagination.

As we gaze into the depths of this enigmatic square, we find ourselves confronted with a host of questions. What lies beyond the limits of the canvas? What emotions and ideas are contained within this seemingly empty space? And what does it mean to create something so simple yet so profound?

lecarrénoir forces us to confront our own preconceptions and biases, to strip away the excess and find meaning in the most fundamental elements of artistic expression. It is a testament to the power of simplicity, and a reminder that sometimes the most profound statements can be made with the fewest words, or in this case, the simplest of shapes.

the investment.

[-{-(-art)}] as a symbol of wealth.
[-{-(-art)}] as a store of wealth.


Buying this NFT shows the world that you truly understand art. You are a connoisseur. You grasp what it means to own something that was truly crafted. You will know what you’ll have, and what you’ll have will be infinite.

While lecarrénoir may seem like a simple and unremarkable digital asset, in truth it represents a new and innovative way of owning and exchanging art. By investing in this NFT, you are participating in a conversation about the nature of art, supporting the digital art community, and potentially seeing a many-fold return on your investment over time.

Black square on a white background displayed on a gallery wall, surrounded by people.
lecarrénoir impresses at a secret [-{-(-art)}] opening in [LOCATION REDACTED]

Nobody can predict the future, aside from the inevitable eventual heat death of the Universe (and with it one assumes, the Metaverse). Until that time comes, your investment will remain yours thanks to the innovative technologies that also power leading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Floki Baby Shiba Coin. Your art, and your right to it, will remain on the blockchain.

Your Non-Fungible Token will act as an asset that can be passed down through the generations as its worth appreciates. lecarrénoir may however not be split, and must be owned in its entirety by one individual at a time. The mantra “the square is not to be shared” was the only phrase l’artiste uttered during the last month of the artwork’s creation.

Black square on a white background displayed on a laptop on a lawn, viewed by a young woman.
A youth contemplates the meaninglessness of existence thanks to the power of [-{-(-art)}]

Your favourite child, their favourite child (and so on down the generations) will marvel at the uniqueness of lecarrénoir. This meisterwerk of [-{-(-art)}] will act as a badge of honour, cementing their alpha position in your family’s hierarchy as the best of the best of the best. The most deserving of heirs.

the opportunity.

lecarrénoir is now available as a 1 of 1 Non-Fungible Token (NFT).

As well as the NFT (itself your proof of ownership), the buyer will be entitled to the following:

  • A selection of the initial working sketches
  • One of the original “pixel” canvases
  • A test tube containing a sample of the lenoir pigment
  • A 72-page hardcover coffee table book detailing l’artiste‘s creative journey and working processes
A hardback book - lecarrénoir - placed upon a fabric surface.
The hardcover coffee table book that will be sent to the ultimate owner of lecarrénoir NFT.

In its inimitable style, l’artiste chose a selling price to represent one hundred Pounds Sterling for every canvas used to create the piece.

£100 × (100 × 100) canvases = £1,000,000 (excluding fees).
In today’s market, this equates to ~750 ETH.