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Colour & Materials
Published: 8 Sep 2014

Doug Wheeler’s Illusionary Space

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Doug Wheeler installation at Palazzo Grassi

American artist Doug Wheeler has created the illusion of an infinite white space inside the Palazzo Grassi contemporary arts centre in Venice.

Shown within the 18th-century building's atrium, the installation is cornered by two rows of original stone columns and when viewed from the entrance, it appears to have no boundaries. Visitors that enter the space seemingly float in a vast area of glowing white light.

This visual trickery is created using a reinforced fibreglass shell, which is coated in titanium dioxide paint and illuminated with LEDs. The shell gently curves upwards from the floor to form the two furthest walls and ceiling. Lighting from above removes the shadows that would usually indicate where the surfaces change direction.

White can completely transform the look and feel of an environment. Wheeler's clever use of white light disorientates the visitor by removing their sense of depth and perspective. The installation is on show until December 31 as part of the gallery's exhibition, The Illusion of Space.

Read more about how artists are exploring white's ethereal qualities to create illusionary artworks and product in our Whiteout report. For further examples of immersive environments using light as a medium, see our coverage of the inspirational exhibition, Light Show.

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