Friday, August 8, 2014

Alice caged in a strange, fish-eye world

I often enjoy drawing sketches of places I visit looking at them with a somewhat awkward perspective, called fish-eye perspective. Like regular perspective, all the horizontal lines diverge to vanishing points at the level of the horizon, but here, the vertical lines diverge too: At the top, they come together to point at a vanishing point up there, in heaven, and at the bottom, at hell.

This is what makes the vertical lines bend, and create a world that wraps around you, as if you were a fish looking at the view through a round fish bowl:

Quite by accident I looked at these three drawings, and saw that they could be combined into a single world, where the opposite bends of the vertical lines would put a strain on the seams between the three parts.

The oil painting is quite large, and it brought to my mind the excerpt from Alice in Wonderland: "Before she had drunk half the bottle, she found her head pressing against the ceiling, and had to stoop to save her neck from being broken. She hastily put down the bottle, saying to herself `That's quite enough—I hope I shan't grow any more—As it is, I can't get out at the door—I do wish I hadn't drunk quite so much!'"

If you look at this space through the eyes of Alice in Wonderland, the corridors become your sleeves; you can see the ceiling over you and the floor underneath your feet at the same time. The scene as a whole turns into a giant eye;the shadows—eyelashes; and the window in the background—a red pupil.

The space in this daytime painting is harshly lit, parched dry, and utterly desolate. So I asked myself, what will happen if I turn off the light and let characters emerge from the darkness? Several of them, from various previous sketches stepped into the nighttime painting, only to hang there, in this strange world that consists of a wire sculpture, based on the outlines of my previous daytime painting. Even the shadows cast in the daytime painting have turned into wires, which altogether form the cage for these characters. What lies beyond its confines? That, I think, is the great mystery...

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