The World Is A Canvas - Mind Bending Perspective Art
Artists have long been limited by boundaries, whether they are the edges of a canvas, the size of a wall, the amount of sculpting material, or the physical dimensions of their installation space. Felice Varini, a highly acclaimed Swiss artist, doesn't believe that art should have any limitations, and by creating unique perspective-based installation pieces all over the world, he has brought his ambitiously unique vision to millions of people.
Varini chooses different spaces and locations throughout the world on which he paints basic geometric figures. Sounds simple enough, but when the space is the three-dimensional side of a mountain, rather than a two-dimensional canvas, countless variables must obviouly be factored in to the creative process.
His work may be only a few feet wide or could span the side of a massive cathedral, and each installation begins from one, singular perspective. His. If the viewer is standing in any other spot besides the one from which he originally envisioned the finished product, they will see a disconnected series of geometrical shapes, but interestingly enough, that "out of perspective" vantage point gives the viewer a totally different, yet equally fascinating experience.
With the help of photographs, projector-stencils, and a small team of assistants, he can formulate and complete a project in around a week. Obviously, painting the side of a castle or an entire city street may take a bit longer than a painting inside a small room, but the efficiency in his execution is unbelievable. The unique style and perfection of the finished products have gained him international notoriety, numerous commissions, featured work at the Galway Arts Festival (seen below), as well as a nomination for the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize.
When asked about his art, Varini explains that his aim is not to force the viewer into one perspective to enjoy or "understand" his work. Everyone knows what a circle or a square looks like, and a triangle on a piece of paper is just as much of a triangle as one on the side of a highway. But when seen from a different point of view than the artist's, what becomes of the art? Should it be seen as a different work entirely, based simply on the shifted vantage point of the viewer? Varini's work suggests a larger discussion about the nature, intent, and experiential side of art, both in the small scale, and often in his case, the large.
Other artistic forms beg questions about interpretation or smaller variations in perspective, like a sculpture one can walk around, or certain abstract painting techniques where subject matter is debatable, but Varini's work elevates those issues to a much grander scale. His art is seamlessly integrated into the landscape of both natural and manmade forms, but only appears "perfect" when seen from a single point in space.
The tangled mess of geometric stripes or disjointed lines resolves into the intended image at one specific spot, as though that is the "correct" spot to view the work. However, as Varini points out, circles and squares are nothing revolutionary to look at, but his work does offer that "answer" for those art fans who seek clarity and meaning, while also providing an infinite number of different perspectives and experiences for those who like uncertainty or a more personal relationship to artwork.
Following the increasingly bizarre developments of modern art in the 20th Century, many art critics and even artists themselves have asked the question of where modern art and the process of abstraction will go next. Varini decided to answer that question by removing all natural limitations that artists have traditionally faced and completely mesh reality with art. By using the three-dimensional world as the canvas, he has an eternally dynamic canvas that adds elements of difficulty and profundity to his paintings. There is nothing more abstract than bending the space where reality already exists, instead of just splashing creativity onto a blank page or a shapeless lump of clay. Felice Varini not only thinks outside the box, he paints on it.
When discussing new directions for art, people often think of weirder and less understandable forms of artistic expression, but Varini instead deconstructs art into the simple facets that it has always consisted of, perspective, shape, light, shadow, texture, and depth. The fact that his analyses are made on entire city blocks, complex architectural spaces, or hillsides do not make his explorations any less significant, but it does make his contributions to modern art worth seeing, from whichever perspective you may choose.
So, gentle art lovers, are your minds bent and senses tricked? Does Felice Varini's work inspire you to look at the world as an endless canvas? Or are his "perspectives" more theoretical than practical?
Take a different look at Varini's whole body of work at his website.
Check out more weird angles with my favorite Art Outside The Lines!
All images are copyrighted and reserved by the artist.