Swiss artist Felice Varini is know for his large scale projections of geometric forms onto rooms and exterior spaces. His latest work at the Grand Palais in Paris went up just last month, you can watch the video above to see how he works with projectors and stencils to create his artwork that only appears proportional when seen from a specific viewpoint. You can also follow him on Facebook. (via street art news)
French artist Bernard Pras works almost entirely within the realm of assemblage and anamorposis, a visual illusion where a distorted projection—often made from paint or a collection or objects—must be viewed from a specific vantage point to reconstitute the intended image. His latest piece, a portrait of Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté, is comprised of numerous objects including clothes, paint, wood, rubber, and other objects found or scavenged around the installation site. Only when viewed through the lens of his camera is the image clearly visible. Watch the video above to see everything come together. Pras currently has a solo show at MazelGalerie in Brussels, Belgium and you can see a collection of his work here (flash).
Some figurative sculptors carve their artworks from unforgiving stone, while others carefully morph the human form from soft blocks of clay. Artist Jonty Hurwitz begins with over a billion computer calculations before spending months considering how to materialize his warped ideas using perspex, steel, resin, or copper.
Born in Johannesburg in 1969, Hurwitz now lives and works in London where he’s somewhat of a renaissance man, focusing both on his artwork and micro-loan website Wonga which he co-founded in 2007. His anamorphic sculptures rely on scans of objects (hands, faces, frogs) that are then distorted digitally and fabricated, but when placed in front of a cylindrical mirror the projected reflection reveals the original object. Still, other works deal with pixelated or sliced human forms that are only viewable from a single perspective. A scientist at heart, Hurwitz explained to me that his artwork is his way of “expressing calculations visually,” and also allows him to experiment with cutting-edge manufacturing and fabrication technologies. Of the more mind-bending anamorphic pieces, he shares:
For the anamorphic pieces its an algorithmic thing, distorting the original sculptures in 3D space using 2πr or πr3 (cubed). Much of it is mathematical, relying on processing power. There is also a lot of hand manipulation to make it all work properly too as spacial transformation have a subtle sweet spot which can only be found by eye. Generally I will 3D scan my subject in a lab and then work the model using Mathematica or a range of 3D software tools. I think the π factor is really important in these pieces. We all know about this irrational number but the anamorphic pieces really are a distortion of a “normal” sculpture onto an imaginary sphere with its centre at the heart of the cylinder.
I strongly urge you to watch the two embedded videos above to get a sense of how remarkably precise each artwork appears up close. What I’ve shown you here is honestly just the tip of the iceberg; please head on over to his website, Facebook, Saatchi profile, and Youtube to see more of his work. He’ll also have a piece on display at the Kinetica art show in London in February. The photography above was taken by Niina Keks, Otto Pierratto, Richard Ivey, Alex Brenner and Jonty Hurwitz and provided courtesy of the artist.
Update: If you’d like to read more about the history of anamorphosis in art, Wikipedia has a great article, tracing the known roots of the technique back to a 1485 artwork by Leonardo da Vinci. You can also explore the anamorphism tag here on Colossal.
Update 2: In reaction to some of the commentary online regarding the historical context of Hurwitz’ work, the artist shares with us via Facebook: “I have always been torn between art and physics. In a moment of self-doubt in 2003, I wondered into the National Portrait Gallery and stumbled across a strange anamorphic piece by William Scrots (Portrait of Edward VI, 1546). Followed shortly down the isle by The Ambassadors (Hans Holbein, 1533). My life changed forever. I rushed home and within hours was devouring the works of Escher, Da Vinci and many more. In a breath I had found “brothers” in a smallish group of artists spanning 500 years with exactly the same dilemma as me. Within two months I was deep in production of my first work. My art rests on the shoulders of giants, and I am grateful to them.”
Master of optical illusion Brusspup has a new video out today showing some really fun optical illusions using anamorphic projections. The trick is pretty simple: the photographs are skewed but then filmed at an angle where everything looks normal, but when the illusion is revealed it’s still pretty mind-bending. Brasspup also provided downloadable high resolution files of the Rubik’s cube, shoe, and tape so you can print them out on 8×11″ paper, trim, and try for yourself. I love DIY Anamorphism Wednesdays!
When viewed head on, what at first looks like typography on top of a simple photograph reveals itself to be well-executed anamorphic typography by Chicago designer Thomas Quinn. The illusion is created using a standard light projector that projects the intended design on an uneven surface which is then carefully painted. From every other angle the work looks skewed and almost illegible, but when you stand at just the right spot everything seems to pop into place. You can see many variations of anamorphism right here on Colossal, and don’t forget the absolute master of the art form, Felice Varini. (via this isn’t happiness)
Artist Stephen Doyle of Doyle Partners (of paper sculpture fame) just completed this excellent anamorphic projection for the New York Times magazine using blue tape. The project involved taping the various words of traits being taught at KIPP Infinity middle school in Manhattan, of which “grit” is one. The photo is great and I also enjoyed the making-of video showing just how it’s done. (via quipsologies)
London-based graphic design student Joseph Egan created this fantastic anamorphic typographic installation at Chelsea College of Art & Design, using the works of Felice Varini as a jumping off point. The video really drives the whole idea home, I would love to see something like this in person. (via kastormag)