John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
To put it all together, you'll have to trek to a vantage point on top of a Belgian hotel.
But when viewed from a specific point—the rooftop lounge at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the city of Hasselt—the senseless squiggles magically resolve into interlocking circles so large they span 99 structures around town. The effect is something like an urban version of a crop circle, or a helicopter landing pad drawn by someone so blotto he was seeing in triple.
Trois Ellipses Ouvertes en Désordre (or "Three Ellipses Open Messy," according to Google Translate) was executed by Swiss artist Felice Varini, a specialist in perspective-warping works. Americans might know him for a 2010 piece in New Haven, Conn., that presented a square mysteriously floating above an alley floor—even though parts of it were painted on a far-off parking garage. But Varini has crafted similar illusions from Paris to Wales to Japan, making patterns that appear all up in your face by coloring in pieces of the landscape dozens or hundreds of feet away from each other.
His Belgian ring trick celebrates the impending permanent art walk connecting Hasselt and the neighboring city of Genk. The exhibition's website describes Varini's work this way:
Swiss artist Felice Varini always sets out to create interventions in the existing architecture of the urban and industrial landscape. The open space is the canvas upon which the artist applies his geometric colour planes. From a carefully chosen position, Varini 'projects' his perspectival figures across the sprawling city. He is, however, particularly interested in what happens in the areas outside of that one vantage point, where only fragments of the artwork can be seen and all sense of coherence is gone.
Here are twin views of Trois Ellipses: One is a close-up process shot, and the other shows a light projection that helped the artist sketch out his roof-hopping plan:
H/t Street Art News