Bernard Pras, genius of perspective


Venus by Bernard Pras | Photo via Youth Time

Bernard Pras is a French artist born in 1952, considered to be one of the most unusual artists of the new generation. After more than 20 years as a painter and sculptor of recovered objects, Pras conceived an astonishing form of expression, using photography and sculpture combined to create art installations that come to life only when observed through a certain angle.

I recently came across some of his work and I was so impressed by it that I had to share it!

Like a large-scale Arcimboldo, Pras's anamorphic installations are the result of an astoundingly meticulous work which consists in assembling several different objects which all together could very well pass off as a dumpster, but here's the trick: when photographed at a very well-planned, well-designed angle these objects seem to magically merge into one coherent portrait. The most amazing thing to me is the large scale of these sculptures and the absolutely mind-boggling games of perspective, as these art installations aren't simply laid flat but they work and combine together on several different layers of perspective. I find it impossible not to marvel at Pras's incredible eye for perspective and at the amount of work that must go behind the assembly of such sculptures.

Here are pictures of one of his installations, Facteur Cheval, from two different angles and a video that perfectly illustrates his anamorphic process: 2015-11-29 21-22-53
Here it is from an angle... just a bunch of random stuff, right? 2015-11-29 21-21-00
There's another angle. Again, this just looks like a bit of a mess really.
..and here it is, as seen from the front! Don't believe it?

I will leave a link to Pras's portfolio from each of these images, as on his website you have the possibility to look more closely inside the picture as if through a magnifying glass. I find his works can be truly appreciated not only by seeing the final product but also by trying to break it down into the smaller parts which combined it, to look at each individual component and its placement in the overall portrait. I've got to admit, I have spent quite an amount of time exploring some of the images that were most puzzling my mind – such as this one which recreates the famous Old Man in Sorrow by Van Gogh. Try having a go by yourself at figuring out how and on how many layers Pras made it!

Le vieil homme


I also couldn't help but making a whole new Pinterest board just for him, so be sure to check it out and follow it if you want to see more of his works.

Here is a Making Of video which gives a little insight into his work process:

And finally, here is a collection of some of my favourites:














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