Optical Illusions and Fake News Forever
Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845), Trompe l’œil with cat, 18th century. © Sammlung Henri und Farida Seydoux, Photo: Kunsthalle München.
Optical illusions, trompe-l’oeil, visual trickery and deceptions have always been around, particularly in art. Since antiquity, artists have been playing with our senses, reminding us time and time again how easily we are deceived. With examples from painting, sculpture, video, architecture, design, fashion and interactive virtual-reality works, the exhibition weaves a highly entertaining path through the (art) history of appearance and illusion. The exhibition transforms over four millennia of optical illusions into an exciting art experience, with every room holding new surprises in store. Since time immemorial, artists have been searching for new ways of duping the beholder, confounding him with their craftsmanship. Even the frescoes of antiquity impressively simulate three-dimensional images. Baroque church ceilings refine these illusion techniques, seeming to draw the gaze of the congregation up into heavenly spheres. Moreover, during the 17th century, the golden age of illusory painting, audiences were captivated by the trompe-l’œil (fooling the eye). These works are so perfectly executed that the depicted objects seem to emerge from the frames. Today’s digital virtual reality technology offers almost unlimited possibilities of extending the longstanding tradition of optical illusions in ways hitherto undreamed of.