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Tough Spot: Camouflage Art by Laurent La Gamba

Aren't those seemingly elementary hidden-object computer games addicting and fun? French artist Laurent La Gamba gets to play spot-the-not in real life by creating camouflaged art, cheekily representing consumerism and mass production in optical illusions. See (and find) his work below.

Do you still remember Hiding in the City with Liu Bolin, the series of seamless and uncanny camouflage art by iconic Chinese landmarks?

The technical term is procrypsis: the avoidance of observation, which allows an otherwise visible object to remain indiscernible. Called “homochromie” in French, Laurent La Gamba’s camouflages are based on the use of urban space as a reflection on the self and society, in chromatic response of the human body to the environment.

“My research on painting pro-crypsis thrives on every urban spaces which often unknowingly mimic nature. Indeed, even urban setting mirrors the pro-cryptic theme and echoes back to camouflage as found in nature.”

La Gamba was inspired by the phenomenon of color camouflage in wildlife and he recreates them in an artificial urban setting through his painted installations, later captured on film. The optical illusions are blatant yet they blend in, straightforward yet they also stand out. We especially like how the creative process is completely his: from painting a protective suit, to sculpting it onto a subject, to installing them into the respective location, to photographing the end result.

He is known for his public supermarket camouflage photographs and for his peculiar use of consumer appliance objects extracted from their original environment and camouflaged into a natural setting, works he created in 2002. He explains the rationale behind his work in this text for Open fridge:

“How do people send signals to others about who they are in a society where consumerism and mass production are the norm? What people buy are very much transitional objects (as defined by D.W Winnicott, the psychoanalyst), a source of comfort and also a source of pride where they show both what they’ve bought and can afford and what good taste they have (that’s what they hope can be seen and why I show heads, the visible seat of thought!) and yet this act immediately blends them into the scenery because their unique car or fridge is of course one of so many.”

And just like that, his illusions cease to be merely optical.

Visit Laurent La Gamba for more info.

written by denisesanjose

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