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Ludwig Wilding
b. 1927
d. 2010 Germany

Ludwig Wilding was a German artist whose work is associated with Op art and Kinetic art. Wilding was born in Grünstadt, Germany in 1927.  He studied at the University of Mainz Art School.


Wilding's works are three-dimensional structures that create shifting patterns through their black and white designs. His Op and Kinetic spatial works aim to disorient viewers by tricking the focus of their eyes.  Wilding was always interested in the examination of visual perception of space, and more particularly in stereoscopy, which creates the illusion of depth in a single picture. Inspired by the Modernists as well as the work of M. C. Escher, he invented a special technology using the superimposition of interference in order to create three-dimensional optical illusions, utilizing a wide variety of phenomena, including spatial illusions, anamorphoses, perspective paradoxes, fractals, and moving moiré patterns.  His works question the perceptual habits of the viewer and the interaction between the eye and the brain. Depending on the angle of view, the moiré patterns shift and flicker confusing the eye, while the grids seemingly turn into familiar objects such as kaleidoscopes, spinning wheels, and city towers. Wilding liked to use the term “irritating art” not only because in his work he investigated the limits of visual perception but also because viewers would often rub their eyes in disbelief as the patterns would physically irritate the eye.


He has shown at the Museum Leverkusen (1953), Zimmer Gallery, Frankfurt (1958) and Studio F, Ulm (1965). His work was included in The Responsive Eye (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1965), Eyes, Lies, and Illusions (Hayward Gallery, London, 2004) and Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s (The Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, 2007). Ludwig Wilding lived in Westheim, Germany, and died in 2010.

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