Georges Rousse’s Illusory Illusions

It’s me Justine again, sharing my second post on Mighty Optical Illusions website. You’d think that being an illusionist would be enough for any artistic person who enjoys tweaking reality. But Georges Rousse, Paris artist born 2 years after the end of The Second World War, has taken it a step further. He is creating illusions of an illusion!

Back in the eighties, Rousse started out as an ordinary laboratory photographer, but then moved on and began taking photographs of vacant car parks, empty roads and condemned buildings.

After a while an idea hit him, so he started painting figures of people on walls of these buildings, and then photographed these. Later on, he switched from figures to illusory shapes. Soon he grew tired of all this, and began superimposing photographs on spaces, realities on other realities.


I find Rousse’s combination of photography and illusions, combined with installation art somewhat confusing – perhaps annoying even. It’s impossible to really know what you are seeing ,ever! I’m not sure I would enjoy any of his works hanging from my walls…

Take the above photo for example. At first glance it looks as if one is looking at the scene through a circular filter. A closer look reveals that the shapes in the circle appear to be entirely separated from their background, as if an unrelated photograph has been superimposed on the area behind.

Nothing in the “normal” part of the area lines up with a single part in the white photo. I don’t know about you, but I feel cheated by this kind of artifice. My eyes want the circular part to fit into the main picture so much, but it just won’t! You may find more of Rousse’s work below:





Click Here for a RANDOM Optical Illusion

46 Replies to “Georges Rousse’s Illusory Illusions”

  1. to me this looks like a before and after. The circular center seems as if it depicts the renovation of the old factory space into a condo or that sort of structur. the columns seem to be of the same size and shape just with fresh paint and work around it.

  2. what’s not to get? reality upon reality
    isn’t fact is stranger than fiction? n ones perception isn’t the same as another. i personally like this illusion. =)

  3. uhhhhm, What?
    I’m confused, the top picture makes no sense, but the pictures under it have no explanation and therefore make even less sense…

    Weird stuff….

    1. Its all painted on. He used angles to make it look like another object. Look at it from another angle it wouldn’t make sense at all

  4. Photo manip is something this site has avoided, preferring “true” optical illusions. I hope you go back to that, as I really don’t care for this “fake” illusions that aren’t anything but photo manipulation.

  5. Certainly different: First thought – camera filter to make the central area look white. Second thought – this is a illusions site so it can’t just be that, bet the room is painted white in a funny oval shape to make it look circular from that angle, like those chalk drawings. Third thought – umm, no, nothing seems to fit, what’s going on? Illusion of illusion, that’s indeed correct. I think the red square thing below and the last one with names is actually painted, no?

  6. thi is actually fascinating I’m having quite an intriguing time trying to figure out the ways he could have done tis. And so far I could only come up with sticking paper on a cameralense. But those picture with the circles could just be a giant circle that someone painted on…either way it leaves you with questions…

  7. I agree with Tim – a photo from another a different point of view would help me understand the illusion. Or, if these images are created over a photograph (sort of a photoshop piece), then an explanation would clarify things. I really like them as they are but I’d also like to grok them.

  8. I don’t get it. Looks cool but I think if you are going to post on here you need to 1. explain a little more and 2. write so it makes sense. Maybe it’s just me… but this one with the lack of explanation and writing like nobody is going to read it, and the posting with the moon footprint are making me want to take this blog off my homepage.

  9. These arn’t very interesting at all. They look like imagines imposed on top of photographs, and without another angle to prove that they arn’t , how are we to know?

    hope your 3rd post is more interesting than the first two. sorry , not trying to be mean, just honest.

  10. For everyone looking for a different angle shot, there is none. He put pictures in picture to make it look like it fits the original picture. Or easier way of putting it, each image is made of two pictures

  11. Dear Vurdlak.

    I quite enjoy your site and the images you post. I am a bit troubled by your reference to all these items at “illusions”. A true illusion causes a “misperception”
    that is common to the majority that see it. That is, the mind looks for a resolutionn to make sense of the visual presentation and it can not and the reason for the misperception is not apparent. So the pogendorf or penrose illusion cause things to look one way then another in the same image and it causes an in ability to resolve or “understand” the item in the image could exist in reality. Other images you post are visual curosities, such as the presesnt Rousse images but their not illusions. It is easy to see this is one image merged with another. It cause no misperception one easily understands theses are just two different images. Perhaps an interesting visual currosity, or art, but not an illusion.
    This is more a personl observation than a criticism and as I said I do quite enjoy your site.
    Brooks M.

  12. This is a very interesting piece. its not really and illusion. but one thing everyone seems to have failed to see is the fact the light coming from windows lines up with the image inside and outside the circle. and upon looking closer at the image and what Rousse does it seems that he took a before image, fixed the room up, took and after image and placed them together. But it’s still not an illusion, just photography.

  13. they are all very interesting pictures…and you shud go to his website to see how these pictures were created. That helps to understand the explanation above and also the images without any explatnations….great photography!
    But, Justine, I think you gotta work more on your explanations…sound more enthusiastic, engage the audience! :-) You will probably catch on as you start posting more.. :-)


  15. Yeah, sorry Justine, but this artwork, and “photoshopped” no less. He’s taken abstract art (like the red squares) and superimposed them over the top of ordinary pictures. They are kind of interresting from an ‘artwork’ perspective, but they don’t really have a place here.

  16. Clever use of lighting to blend the superimposed pictures into the other ones. They make interesting pieces of artwork.

    One can argue that they are “illusions” rather than “pictures of illusions” meaning that the pictures them selves are the illusions, instead of being mearly a photograph of a Julaian Beever work, or a mural of some sort.

  17. I don’t understand why you guys don’t read what it says in the start.. It’s NOT photoshop and the ARE indeed GREAT illusions..
    The rooms are PAINTED in a very strange way, causing the spectator to see actual images from only ONE point of view.. Although, Justine, there are also pictures from other angles on the web, so if we had these here everybody would’ve understood what this is all about..

  18. I think alot of people who commented are confused.

    This is NOT photoshopped images. They’re just paint on walls, ceilings, doors and woteva else needs to be painted on. The pictures are taken in a certain spot which lines up all painted pieces and makes it look like a solid image! Cool!

    And of course it belongs here, it’s an ‘optical’ illusion

  19. Samuel, It’s art. And for saying that it doesn’t make sense, you shouldn’t be looking at certain types of art ’cause obviously you don’t understand the concepts of this.

  20. “Take the above photo for example. At first glance it looks as if one is looking at the scene through a circular filter. A closer look reveals that the shapes in the circle appear to be entirely separated from their background, as if an unrelated photograph has been superimposed on the area behind.”
    I disagree look at the space again and the with a closer look you can tell that the room in the “filtered section” has been dry walled

  21. It is good stuff from the one point of view. But the effort to achieve this one point of view is disproportionate to the ACTUAL presence of people moving around the space. The space is damaged and does not make sense, and only comes to life when you take this one viewpoint.

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