Trompe l’oeil is a classical artistic technique wherein the artist attempts to create a two-dimensional image that appears to exist in three-dimensions. The Trick Eye Museum in Seoul celebrates this art form with a collection of interactive optical illusions ranging from the unbearably silly to the classically whimsical.
While the high-minded tradition of trompe l’oeil is certainly on display in the museum it is all in service to providing opportunities for goofy photo opportunities. Containing hundreds of oversized paintings for visitors to jump into, the museum allows guests to orient themselves in perspective with the images so that it can seem as though they are being crushed by a hydra, hanging off of a cliff, or taking part in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Some of the images are whole rooms that seem to have been turned on their head or their side allowing the subject to look like they are climbing the walls or standing on the ceiling. The giant paintings of sushi pieces reaching out from the frame and images of angel wings just waiting to be stepped into might come off as garish if they weren’t mixed together with works that ape a classical renaissance style, some replica of actual artworks that guests can make themselves a part of.
The Trick Eye Museum continues to add optical illusions to its collection which now covers almost every wall in the space. In addition, the museum has also opened an “Ice Museum” next door that while retaining the Trick Eye name has nothing to do with tromp l’oeil images and is solely focused on ice sculptures and plastic displays of frozen water. The connection seems a bit strained, but both sites provide ample photo opportunities.
Update: the Trick Eye Museum no longer exists as it has been rebranded as Coconut Box, a tropical-style playground targeted at grownups, with a bar, bungalows, and ball pits. Some of the elements of the museum have been preserved, including the stylized Dalí statue and the selfie-taking Mona Lisa photo op. The Ice Museum is now an adult-themed, comically erotic exhibit called the Love Museum (temporarily closed).