A truly psychedelic experience is the exhibition Vertigo in the Vienna museum mumok. Some of the artworks on display in the exhibition Vertigo use techniques of visual stimulation that might lead to physical discomfort. mumok will not assume any liability, they say.
by Tom Rom
In the ground floor you see a comparison between op-art paintings of the 20th century and also medieval counterparts of predecessors of modern art. Most patterns in those pictures start to move and change their shape when approaching the picture or move back. Some of the pictures really create vertigo and you feel dizzy after a while of watching them. Really thrilling is the 2nd floor where visitors enter psychedelic spaces. Most impressive is a room totally in blacklight with white geometrical strings. After a while you realize that the strings are slowly moving back- and forward, pulled by invisible and silent engines hidden behind the setting. In another room you feel like glass walls are moving to you and through you, but it’s only a clever light installation. Other moving objects appear spinning faster or slower when you go closer. One of the most astounding objects is a painting that looks completely different on the paper and when you look at its reflection on a metal cylinder standing on the paper. What an idea!
Op-art was a big hit in the 1950s and 1960s. For many it is denigrated as being too spectacular and superficial. This is a misconception because the idea is to show that reality is not real and a concept of mind. So the exhibition is a game with our senses, presenting a wide spectrum ranging from panel paintings, reliefs, and objects to installations and experimental spaces, to film and computer-generated art.
Op-art works are by no means only directed at our sense of sight. The optical illusions directly affect our mind as a whole, and, through distracting it, also the body – even losing balance is possible.
This exhibition was initiated by mumok and is implemented in cooperation with Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, where it will be shown in late 2019. Vertigo, Op-Art and a History of Deception 1520–1970 is generously supported by the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and open in Vienna until 26 October 2019.