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Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 5:31:50 PM
by seow bei yi
Trick Eye Museum in Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore features exhibits - 80 paintings and optical illusions. Most are unique to its gallery there.
Trompe l’oeil, a French term literally meaning ‘trick the eye’, is causing an artful stir in Singapore.
You can touch and hug the art pieces or even step inside and snap photos with them. That's the draw of trompe l’oeil artwork – two-dimension paintings which look like three-dimensional scenes and objects, thanks to an optical illusion. It's the main attraction of two new museums and one exhibition now showing in Singapore.
The past month saw the launch of two museums from South Korea with trompe l’oeil artwork. The Trick Eye Museum opened at Resorts World Sentosa and Alive Museum in Suntec City. Visitors pay an entrance fee to tour the museums. They can take photos of themselves posing with the paintings and sculptures, blending in with the scenery through a “trick” of the eye.
Local cafe The Connoisseur Concerto (TCC) is exhibiting a selection of such three-dimensional art at its gallery in Circular Road. The exhibition PantoneMyArt – 3-D In Colour runs until Oct 6, showcasing works from Singaporean artists such as Benjamin Qwek and Clogtwo. It's the first time the gallery is showcasing 3D art and, similarly, viewers are encouraged to interact with the works.
The artworks at the two museums here are hand-painted by anonymous Korean artists. Visitors can look forward to the original pieces created by them which incorporate local icons such as the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands.
Alive Museum, which first opened in 2009 on Jeju island, now sees about 1.5 million visitors a year, compared with 670,000 visitors in 2011. Its initial popularity was partly due to its appearance in a popular Korean drama, Heartstrings, starring Park Shin Hye and CNBlue lead singer Jung Yong Hwa. Seoul’s Trick Eye Museum, which opened in 2010, has seen a similar surge in visitors from 167,000 visitors in 2011 to more than 500,000 last year.
Known as 3D art, such works are not new, with artists in Europe and the US decorating pavements with chalk paintings that create the illusion of a three-dimensional scene. These eventually get washed away by rain.
In recent years, corporations here have used 3-D art pieces to engage the public. British artist Julian Beever was commissioned by Nokia in 2007 to do pavement art outside Raffles City Shopping Centre. In 2010, he did a 3D drawing of a Hilton Hotel in VivoCity. Two years ago, American artist Kurt Wenner produced a piece for Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Departure Hall for its retail promotion.
Such art has a particular appeal for snap-happy Asians. “I was attracted by how we could take interesting and realistic photos with the exhibits,” says Karen Koh, 23, an undergraduate who visited the Trick Eye museum in Seoul in 2012. She is excited about the museum and says: “Everything inside seems so fascinating to me.”
Visitors can ride a Merlion or float above a chair at the Trick Eye Museum at Resorts World Sentosa’s waterfront. Trick Eye features 80 paintings and optical illusions, 50 of which were created or adapted for the space here. This is the museum’s first branch outside South Korea.
The art is installed in six themed zones within an 800 sq m space. The themes include Dreams Of Fairytale, where visitors can pose with babies of different races on a park bench, and Adventure Discovery, where people can ride the waves on a swimming Merlion. “We hope to reflect Singapore’s beautiful landscape and city atmosphere in our works,” says Mandy Foo, the museum’s assistant marketing manager.
Another piece that is unique to the museum here, says Foo, is a sculpture of a giant baby that is thrice the size of a person. “You can even climb on top of the giant baby,” she says. “We encourage visitors to touch our sculptures and interact with them.” The museum’s Korean curator Sujin Oh says its “greatest fulfilment will be the looks of awe and amazement on people’s faces.”
There are two other Trick Eye museums in South Korea, with more overseas branches to come. The one here complements a Korean-themed cluster of six retail shops on a 100m stretch that will open in the third quarter of this year at Resorts World Sentosa.
“We introduce new technologies and concepts every quarter,” says Woo Sang Heo, head of the museum’s creative division. Of the duel piece, created by Alive’s research and development team in South Korea, he says: “This piece, which combines art with mechanical systems, is part of the cutting-edge technology available at Alive Museum.”
Like Trick Eye, Alive also has pieces created by unnamed Korean artists that make references to local icons, such as a bird’s eye view of the Singapore skyline and a caricature of Sir Stamford Raffles. The museum, spanning around 930 sq m, displays 70 hand-painted works, with 20 more to come by the end of the year. Visitors can look forward to artwork customised for festivals such as Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Alive has eight branches in South Korea where it started and six other museums in countries such as China, Thailand and Turkey.
Those who drop by The Connoisseur Concerto (TCC) in Circular Road for a cuppa are now in for an immersive experience. Its walls will be covered with 3D artwork by eight artists, each featuring a different style and colour. It is a new experience for many of these artists.
“I’ve not done 3-D art on this scale, where you can make someone feel like he’s inside it,” says artist Race Krehel, 28, whose futuristic piece incorporates windows on The Gallery’s second level. “I’ve never done anything on walls before and that was my main difficulty. Since this is for a gallery, it is not just about creating a scene for people to pose with. By itself, it has to look like a finished art piece.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network
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