This series of photos titled Géométrie de l’impossible (Impossible Geometry) from 21-year-old photographer Fanette Guilloud was created earlier this year in locations around Toulouse, Bordeaux and in the French Alps near Lyon. Guilloud employed a method of anamorphic projection similar to the work of Felice Varini to create the illusion of a painting superimposed on an image, when in fact there is no digital trickery whatsoever. The image is actually painted on numerous surfaces at varying depths and only appears like what you see here from a particular vantage point. (via Metafilter)
Some of most amazing contemporary artists working in the realm of optical illusion have been brought together for a fantastic show called Illusion at Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. Curated by psychologist and author Richard Wiseman and researched by magician and escapologist (!) Paul Gleeson, the exhibition explores the myriad ways the mind is tricked through sensory deception. The show includes works from Roseline de Thelin, Gregory Barsamian, Matt Kenyon, Jonty Hurwitz (previously), and many more. Illusion runs through September 29, 2013.
This fun piece was painted by illustrator and muralist Mona Caron on Duboce Avenue at Church Street in San Francisco. Titled Manifest Station, the small mural was painted on a standard utility box and has to be viewed from a specific spot so that the horizon lines of the artwork match those of the actual intersection. As an added bonus, a mural in the background which was repainted in part on the utility box is actually an older piece by the same artist. Caron is currently working on a surprisngly great series of weeds and just painted a giant wildflower in Union City. (via CJWHO)
Want to pretend you’re Spiderman but can’t afford the suit and the genetic mutation? Argentine artist Leandro Erlich was commissioned by the Barbican in London to install a version of his wildly popular optical illusion that creates the visual effect of instant weightlessness. Using a wall of giant mirrors propped against a huge horizontal print of a Victorian terraced house, visitors are free to climb and jump around as their reflections appear to move freely without the pesky effects of gravity. Titled Dalston House the piece was erected in Hackney just off Dalston Junction on a disused lot that has remained vacant since it was bombed during the Second World War.
The installation opens today and is free to all visitors and will remain up through August 4th. Erlich will also be giving a talk tomorrow starting at 7:30pm. All images courtesy the Barbican. (via visual news)
Although this image by Bela Borsodi (nsfw) appears to be four separate images, it’s actually a single photograph, with all of the objects perfectly aligned to create an optical illusion. The shot was used as cover art for an album titled Terrain by VLP. See it all come together in the video above.
Arizona-based artist Tom Eckert creates incredibly lifelike sculptures out of little more than wood, paint and patience. Working primarily with basswood, linden and limewood that is then coated with fine layers of lacquer paint, the artist can create realistic wrinkles in fabric or reflections that are almost impossible to discern from the real thing. Eckert says of his work:
Forms carved to suggest cloth recur in many of my pieces. By tradition, cloth has been widely used to conceal and shroud objects in practices ranging from advertising to church rituals. Covered forms are often more evocative – with a sense of mystery absent from the uncovered object by itself. I remember in church one Lent, as a child, being mystified while gazing at the statues shrouded with purple cloth.
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.”
When first viewing the artwork of Shintaro Ohata up close it appears the scenes are made from simple oil paints, but take a step back and you’re in for a surprise. Each piece is actually a hybrid of painted canvas and sculpture that blend almost flawlessly in color and texture to create a single image. The cinematic figures are sculpted from polystyrene while the backgrounds are made from traditional painting techniques. Via his artist statement:
Shintaro Ohata is an artist who depicts little things in everyday life like scenes of a movie and captures all sorts of light in his work with a unique touch: convenience stores at night, city roads on rainy day and fast-food shops at dawn etc. His paintings show us ordinary sceneries as dramas. He is also known for his characteristic style; placing sculptures in front of paintings, and shows them as one work, a combination of 2-D and 3-D world. He says that it all started from when he wondered “I could bring the atmosphere or dynamism of my paintings with a more different way if I place sculptures in front of paintings”. Many viewers tend to assume that there is a light source set into his work itself because of the strong expression of lights in his sculpture.