Fake doors and spaces in Phantom Limb: art beyond Escher.

188 Fries Museum
For the exhibition Phantom Limb: Art Beyond Escher in Leeuwarden’s Fries Museum, Michiel Kluiters used seemingly minimal visual elements in order to suggest a complete system of rooms.
Michiel Kluiters

The work of Michiel Kluiters (Amsterdam,1971) deals with architectural constructions that are linked to the psychological observational condition within the public sphere. In his installations Kluiters employs the existing (exhibition) architecture as a container of time and space in a visual, and often monumental manner.

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For his contribution to Phantom Limb: Art Beyond Escher in Leeuwarden’s Fries Museum, Michiel Kluiters used seemingly minimal visual elements in order to suggest a complete system of rooms. With the photographs Zaal (English: ‘Room’) I, II, and III, and the photo installation Toren (‘Tower’), he manipulates the museum’s architecture. The illusion is achieved because these trompe-l'œils span the entire wall, seamlessly adjoining the actual architecture.

Using scale models in order to create architectural illusions is a recurring element in Kluiters’ work. Here, the models he builds and photographs from within are used to portray architecture in its most archaic form: portions of walls with openings. Nothing looks finished. The unrefined appearance has an unexpected effect – despite it, or perhaps precisely because of it, the illusion is particularly strong.

The picturesque quality of the models, which have been photographed and greatly enlarged, makes the surfaces and every imperfection tangible. Scale and texture contribute to the entire suggestiveness of the illusions, as do the archaic shapes, the unseen sophisticated array of camera angles, framing, lighting, and the corridor effect. These are classic visual elements that our brains have been programmed to. The photography is thereby so recognisable and natural in appearance that it is almost entirely unremarkable. This is the dualistic nature of this work: the viewer either does not see it, or does see it and it sucks them in. The viewer is thereby pulled into a game of recognition and expectation.

Video credits

  • Video production: Maarten Theuwkens
  • Thanks to: Fries Museum, Eelco van der Lingen, Ellen de Bruijne Projects. Marco Hulshof en Olaf Rigter
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