Taking lenticular art prints from novelty postcard to art medium
Lenticular print, though first imagined by Renaissance painters experimenting with double-portraits on corrugated surfaces, evolved into the mainstream largely as a novelty gimmick for trading cards, postcards, or children’s toys of various kinds. As digital technology and art prints have made it much easier to achieve exceptional lenticular prints, more artists have begun working the medium into the art gallery, but some of the earliest examples of modern lenticular art emerged from the Pop Art movement in the 1960s.
Roy Lichtenstein’s 1967 “Fish and Sky” is often highlighted as one of the first, Richard Hamilton started experimenting with lenticular in the early 1970s, and Peter Blake has also worked in the medium more recently. All of these great artists have just been passing through though, there are many artists and photographers who have placed lenticular print at the heart of their work and practice, and have produced some of the most outstanding original artworks of it.
Most often described as a kinetic artist, Agam has taken the concept of lenticular art; something that seems to change as you move around it, and applied it to double-pictures, sculpture, and even architecture, perhaps becoming best known for his huge commission pieces such as The Fire and Water Fountain in Tel Aviv, The Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital exterior in Alabama, and an entire kinetic room featuring corrugated walls for the Elysée Palace.
Working almost exclusively with lenticular photography art prints, Robb’s artworks focus on the nude female form, often depicting them floating in space or even reaching out of the frame. When combined with exceptional technique to realise the three-dimensional illusion made possible with lenticular print, his photos become something much more like a sculpture you can move around in an art gallery space, which is also a human form suspended in time.
The son of Yaacov, Ron Agam is very happy to admit he had the good fortune of learning from the master. Although emerging as a successful photographer, Agam Jr. became intrigued with the possibilities offered by lenticular art prints to create imaginary worlds and spaces with a kineticism to them. His innovative works are boldly coloured and abstract pieces that create an illusion of depth, space, and movement as few other lenticular artists can.
An artist who began his career as a fashion designer with Vivienne Westwood, Gjoen is best known for his work combining skulls with beautiful patterns and flowers into photo-real three dimensional lenticular images, many of which project from a black void as you walk around them taking great advantage of the lenticular sculpture illusion. He has also reworked Baroque works of art such as Petro da Cortona’s fresco The Triumph of Divine Providence into a lenticular art print format, bringing whole new depth to it’s already dizzying perspectives.
Creating bright, colourful, and abstract work almost exclusively through lenticular printing, Dean plays with dense and often complicated compositions and blends of lenticular print depth and movement to create psychedelic art prints toying with perceptions of unfamiliar, yet somehow recognisable visual stimulus.
There are also many notable contemporary artists much like the early Pop Art trailblazers, who dip in and out of lenticular art from time to time depending on the project, vision and mood. Damien Hirst created a diamond-encrusted three-dimensional lenticular skull art print, the multimedia light artist Chris Levine has created three-dimensional lenticular photographic portraits of the Queen and Dalai Lama, and of course there’s our own Gered Mankowitz who has re-imagined some of his iconic 60’s music photography into lenticular form.
Whether re-imagining old artwork, creating impossible spaces, or toying with our perceptions, lenticular art has much to be explored.