Trompe-l'œil and Other Madness
Trompe-l'œil is of course one of those French terms one can throw around. We're talking optical illusion in what seems to be a realistic painting - as in tromper, to deceive, and l'œil, the eye. You've been had. It's kind of a joke on strict realism - there's more here, with samples, and the note that trompe-l'œil was (and is) often employed in murals, "and instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance from Pompeii." And there's Hollywood. Trompe-l'œil is employed in Donald O'Connor's famous "running up the wall" routine in Singin' in the Rain (1952). At the end of the "Make 'em Laugh" number he runs up a real wall, then he runs towards what looks like a hallway painted on a wall, but when he runs up this it's a large trompe-l'œil mural. He crashes through it. Whatever. The inside joke is that the song is a fake too, a shameless rip-off of Be a Clown from the movie The Pirate (1948). Nothing is ever what it seems.
Here's trompe-l'œil at Venice Beach, Thursday, September 21.