Kinetics: Labyrinthine Fun House

The Patriarch of Venice could hardly believe his eyes when he put on the trick spectacles at the prizewinning display of Argentina's Julio Le Pare, 38, at the Venice Biennale last summer. In front of the eyeholes loomed shiny flaps of metal reflecting his own disbelief. Argentine military brass, puffed out with pride that their countryman had won the Grand Prix for painting, deflated with astonishment when they stood in front of one of Le Fare's "paintings"—a long sheet of shiny metal that captured their own images, then freakishly elongated them as...

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