The optical illusion house

A BBC News item came my way today and it just screams for a blog entry.

Argentine artist known for playing around with perceptions of reality, Leandro Erlich, was commissioned recently by the Barbican to create a new installation in Ashwin Street, Dalston. This amazing house is ‘open’ to visitors from tomorrow until 4 August.

Who lives in a house like this?

Who lives in a house like this?

Are the people really flying around in front of the house? Not quite. He has created a horizontal front of a Victorian terraced house, to resemble one of those that once stood on the street. The illusion of flying people comes from the mirrors positioned overhead. The reflections of visitors give the impression they are standing on, suspended from, or scaling the building. The visitors can walk on the house’s facade, ‘climb’ along it, or ‘lie’ in one of the window ledges. They look up and they appear to be defying gravity or risking broken limbs. I know for a fact that my three children would love this. This is another good example of interactive art to appeal to the young (as well as the grown up).

Looking back at other work he’s done I get the sense of the ordinary obscured in some way. Most of his work is about illusion but it’s also quite ordinary.

Stuck elevator, 2011

Stuck elevator, 2011

There is something uneasy about this lift stuck structure in a gallery space. It seems like it should be real.

Swimming Pool, 2008

Swimming Pool, 2008

His Swimming Pool from 2008 also seems fairly ordinary at first viewing, then you realise that the people in the pool appear to be walking on the bottom (that’s because they are – albeit without the water).

A single change to something ordinary (up becomes down, inside becomes outside, shallow becomes deep) is able to upset the seemingly normal situation. This clever tricky exposes our perception of reality and asks us to question that reality.

The Staircase, 2005

The Staircase, 2005

I can’t tell with The Staircase how far ‘deep’ it is.

What a clever man!

References

BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23041236 [last accessed 25 June 2013]

Barbican Centre http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=14756 [last accessed 23 June 2013]

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  1. Pingback: Interactive art | BeckyBendyLegs

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