South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum

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The Trick Eye Museum in Seoul’s artsy Hongdae district might just be the perfect outlet for those who love to mix their photography and their art.

Many galleries and museums – especially the internationally renowned ones – don’t allow their patrons to take pictures.

Why? Well, right or wrong, curators have convinced themselves that flash photography damages art. Oh, and don’t forget the old adage, art is best experienced without a viewfinder in the way.

The Trick Eye Museum in Seoul’s artsy Hongdae district bucks the trend. More than that, it might just be the perfect outlet for those who love to mix their photography and their art.

Interacting with art! (Image: Jirka Matousek)
Interacting with art! (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)

Each of the little museum’s exhibits has been created with the express purpose of being photographed. Many are interactive, and designed to be photographed with.

All the paintings and sculptures play with the trompe l’oeil effect. That’s the artistic optical illusion where three dimensions are depicted in a two dimensional image (there’s a pretty good description on Wikipedia).

South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)

The most fun section is filled with famous masterpieces (think the Mona Lisa, and The Scream, but not as you know them). The subjects in the paintings are altered subtly in humorous ways, allowing a museum visitor to appear as if they’re interacting with them – if the camera’s lined up at the correct angle that is.

South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea's Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)
South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum (Image: Jirka Matousek)

Some visitors wiz through in an hour or so. Others spend hours and hours playing around the images, setting up the perfect perspectives through trial and error.

Be sure to prepare for taking pictures – charge your batteries, have plenty of space on your memory card and bring a tripod if you have one.

One of the biggest tricks here is timing a visit when the place isn’t crowded (hot tip: avoid going on the weekend).

This publicly available gift admission voucher gets you entry for 10,000 won ($8.85) instead of 13,000 won ($11.50).

If you love optical illusions, you might also want to check out Puzzling World (in Wanaka, New Zealand), and Edinburgh’s Camera Obsura.

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Main image: Jirka Matousek)

South Korea’s Trick Eye Museum was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (523 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.