A stunning optical illusion from the South African land artist and sculptor Strijdom van der Merwe is going viral on social media.
Van der Merwe’s optical illusion looks as though one can simply walk up a flight of stairs into heaven.
“The reality is that you’re looking at a well-designed statue that has been made to look as though stairs are ascending into the sky from a certain angle,” Amelia Bamsey writes for the Creative Blog. “The statue, titled Staircase to Heaven is proving to be boggling the minds of the internet, as well as our own.”
It is believed that it was initially created as part of the Hermanus Fine Arts Festival out of 50mm mild steel square tubing and weighing 240kg. And now while the original structure is housed at Creation Farm in the Hemel and Aarde Valley in South Africa, another was erected for the Nanhui Art Project in Taiwan.
But, instead of going for an exact replica, Van der Merwe agreed to recreate the work “as long as we didn’t copy [it] exactly the same but make it unique in the sense that the stairs have some twist in them,” the 60-year-old artist told Business Insider South Africa.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Van der Merwe had to rely on a Taiwanese artist and craftsman Chou Sheng-hsien to build the newest version of Staircase to Heaven.
“The organising committee suggested that I work with a professional craftsman artist to manufacture the sculpture for me according to my design,” Van der Merwe said.
“I sent him the PDF files with all the instructions, and he produced the sculpture according to that.”
Van der Merwe’s art, installations and large-scale sculptures usually “have an intimate connection to the environment”. The artist often makes use of natural materials which are found on-site, with works exhibited around the world, in places like Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Finland, and Lithuania.