FLOWERS GALLERY 82 KINGSLAND ROAD LONDON E2 8DP
I enter the exhibition perpendicular to one of Hughes’ reverspectives. The sculpted painting shimmers. I am exhilarated. I hope that I have reached the edge of ordinary perception. I lean into the extraordinary. Nothing happens. I do not fall. My dreams are dashed against the rocks like ships. I take a sideways step. Then another. I solve the puzzle. Prisms protrude from the picture. They penetrate the space I occupy.
- Hughes creates optical illusions.
- He describes his work as being “made in perspective the wrong way round” so the sections that are nearest the viewer seem the furthest away.
- Optical illusions are a traditional attraction at funfairs.
- Murray McDonald identifies the invention of reverspective – an achievement, which he compares to Brunelleschi’s rediscovery of linear perspective in 1420 – as “the first breakthrough in perspective for over five hundred years”.
- The first pop-up books were created in the 18th century.
- Hughes’ technique is impersonal.
- A gimmick is a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity or trade.
- Reverspectives induce vertigo when viewed from a right angle.
- Like Canaletto (the purveyor of painted postcards), Hughes is enchanted by Venice.
- Many of his compositions contain piles of books emblazoned with names like Wilde and Ionesco.
- Joseph Epstein defines name-dropping as “using the magic that adheres to the names of celebrated people to [impress and] establish one’s [own] superiority” over others.
- Rachel Whiteread’s ghosts become more interesting as they multiply. Hughes’ reverspectives do not.
- Imagine Hans Holbein the Younger devoting his life to painting in anamorphic perspective (after having perfected the technique in The Ambassadors).
- Hughes is a one trick pony.
- A crossword, once completed, is useless and can be discarded.
- Hughes’ reverspectives are like crosswords.