This project was completed for a class titled, The Drawing Constructed. It was later submitted in the form of a hand drawing into an international drawing competition.
The drawing constructed refers to drawings that describe, depict and imply perspectival illusions. Several techniques are available to create these illusions, one of which is anamorphoses. In anamorphoses an individual sees a distorted image, unless they view the image from a certain station point or with a special instrument.
Istvan Orosz is a master of this technique. He uses mirrored geometries, place correctly on his drawings, to reveal hidden portraits. The book, Masters of Deception, shows many of Orosz’s anamorphic etchings. One work in particular, “The Labyrinth of Thesues,” 1986, he used a mirrored pyramid to reveal a hidden portrait of Theseus in the middle of a labyrinth.
Intrigued by the idea of the reflective pyramid, I began exploring the physics of the reflection and also what image was produced when inverted and placed under the reflective pyramid. My objective was to create an abstract image, that when viewed from a set station point above the pyramid, would reveal a whole and undistorted image.
My primary theory was that if you invert and distort an image of a one-point perspective that it, in a sense, becomes a two-point perspective. Then, when viewed with the mirrored pyramid, it returns to an undistorted one-point perspective drawing.
I began my investigation with a photograph of ‘Plecnik Hall’ in Prague Castle. This image was chosen because my initial thought was that by using a symmetrical image it would be easier to break up the image, to invert and distort it. I soon realized, however, that the image being symmetrical was not a requirement at all.
Therefore, to tie in the project more closely to the site, a photograph was taken from the staircase landing on the third floor of the architecture building looking north.
The requirements that I did find were that the image must be a square, since the pyramid base is a square.
The square image must be the same size as the footprint of the base of the pyramid. I also found that using an isometric pyramid provides more accurate results than an isosceles pyramid. In my calculations for the angle of reflection, I found that the mirrors on the pyramid reflect the length of one and a half times the size of the base of the pyramid. Therefore, a three foot base will reflect four and half feet out on each side.
The means used to invert and distort the image was Photoshop. The square image was divided into four triangle segments. The segments were then inverted and then stretched until the height of each was four and half feet. The segments were then plotted to lay out a mock-up in the chosen site. The installation site was selected based on a need to view the project from directly above the peak of the pyramid.
The mock-up revealed one major setback; the fact that individuals walk around oblivious to the world around them and had a tendency of walking right over the drawing. Therefore, it became necessary to create a platform, to elevate the installation off of the ground, and help force people to walk around it and not over it.
The next step in continuing to evolve the project, would be to hang a mirror at a forty-five degree angle
directly above the peak of the pyramid. Doing this would eliminate the need to hang over the railing to view the project, instead it could be viewed as you walk down the hallway towards it.
The photographs are of the installation in place. The hand drawing of the project was entered into the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition in 2008, in which it came in as a finalist.
Status: Competition Entry