A few weeks ago, my brother and I went to the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle, NYC. The exhibit on hand was truly something to be experienced, because telling about it or even showing you pictures — well, you just don’t get the full effect of the play on scale.
The exhibit, Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities, included displays of incredibly small, very detailed models of life-like scenarios by artists from all around the world. What makes these miniatures come to life are the final photographs of each setting. Often, the artist has a very specific point of view or perspective he wants to convey to the viewer. The photograph achieves the effect with ingenious lighting, angles and exaggerated perspective to create just what the artist wants you to see — a scene that looks like you could walk into and fit right in.
Lori Nix specializes in creating worlds that were. It feels like you’re the last person on earth while browsing through her collection.
Paolo Ventura, an Italian artist, creates depressed scenes of Italy with heavy fog and overcast skies. The old, worn stone buildings and the waterways of Venice capture the sad mood of the period after the war.
David Lawrey & Jaki Middleton created a simple and continuous office space, named ‘Consolidated Life’, where the desks seem to go on forever in all directions. The execution of this idea is amazing, the feeling you get looking at it is depressing.
“The Longest Hours” by Rick Araluce shows a simple corridor. It could be a home for juveniles or an old apartment complex. The single room with its door ajar reveals just enough to let you know someone in fact does live there. The wood grain of the floorboards and the subtle lighting show the level of attention to detail Araluce applies to his work.
Junebum Park, a Korean-born artist, created a series of videos that play with perspective, shot from his apartment balcony. Filming his hands, he appears to interact with the world below, moving people and traffic along — objects appear so small in relation to his hands, it looks as if he has created his own personal playground.
One of the most spectacular pieces, appropriately named ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delights’, was modeled and designed by Matt Collishaw. A live zoetrope which used a spinning table to create the moving effect. The pieces are amazingly detailed with such precision that they become animated when the model spins. A primitive man-against-nature fight… you will not believe what you are seeing. Below is a video of the design process and final effect.