Kurt Wenner's one-of-a-kind
While studying in Rome I was invited to climb the scaffolding in a number of churches to see the frescos up close during their restoration. I was lucky enough to even touch the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I noticed that when viewing Baroque ceiling frescos up close the figures were elongated by using a technique called anamorphism. This a particular kind of geometry that makes an image look normal when viewed at a severe angle, such as from the floor of a church far below the painted surface.
When I took up pavement art it occurred to me that images on the pavement also incurred the same problem of from being seen from a sharp angle. I had the opposite problem of a church ceiling, no one was looking up far away at my images, but instead they stood close to the edge of them and looked down.
I began by adjusting the proportions of the composition to accommodate the wide-angle viewpoint the paintings were seen from. I had developed a similar geometry for my work at NASA. I knew that the back of the human eye is a curvilinear plane, and therefore made a geometry that reversed the curve so the image appears correct when viewed from a select point. This sounds complicated because it is!
Only by inventing my own geometry could I create an illusion of vast space in a very small area. This technique creates a harmonious balance between the painted surface, the participants interacting with the art work, and the surrounding environment.”
— Kurt Wenner