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It’s Tragic Magic!

Many months ago I blogged about a puzzle that has kept me occupied for years. The Magic Circus is three pieces of card filled with circus performers, the idea is that you count the performers then switch the top two cards and count them again only to find someone has disappeared or reappeared. Try for yourself, above is the first layout and below the second.

Strange isn’t it? I have been wanting to put this in a painting for so long and last night I made a break through.

I already knew who disappeared, it’s the lady with the dark hair who appears or disappears, count the above then the one below to see it in action.

What I didn’t understand was how to create one of these in painting form until last night when I was flicking through a book from 1966 called the Daily Mail Book Of How. ‘How’ was a popular children’s program filled with how things work, experiments fun puzzles and quirky facts. I loved it.

I found this article in the book, an exercise to make extra lines appear or disappear due to minute changes. The penny dropped, I have already painted an Escher inspired puzzle piece with interchangeable construction way back in 2007 with the nine canvas Love Will Always Find You but this is something else. If I can get it right we should have a set of Impossimal paintings that change according to how you hang them. How cool would that be?

The list of revelations from the book carried on. I had already learned David Blaines levitation trick which is basically the Balducci method but then came across another one. Ever seen a trick where the magician burns something then takes the ash and rubs it on their arm only for a word to appear? Well, simply write the message on your arm in soap beforehand and ash will miraculously stick to it. This book is priceless!

So today I will be levitation painting in soap, each limited edition will come with ash where you have to rub it on the piece to see what you have purchased. Even better if you rearrange the prints in a certain order a nude picture of me appears or disappears.

Maybe that’s not such a great idea after all.


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