Most of us are familiar with lenticular prints as the holographic postcards and posters where the images changes depending on the viewing angle. As well as being fodder for touristy gimmicks, they’ve also been used by renowned artists such as Damien Hirst and Richard Hamilton. This exhibition explores how these prints have been used by artists over the last 45 years.
That there are many variations on the technique shows that it’s a medium that artists have spent some time exploring. The standard presentation of the image moving only when you move is used to good effect here — Jeff Robb’s nudes are caught in mid-air poses and can only gain relief from this uncomfortable position through their interaction with the viewer, while Paul Fryer’s sun only becomes a churning ball of fire when the viewer walks past it.
The most interesting works are where the artists change the rules. Yaacov Agam’s ‘Composition Triangulaire’ overlaps two images where the viewer can never see one or the other completely from any angle — it’s an excellent method for capturing a transitory image. Roy Lichtenstein has only made the bottom quarter lenticular, so the sky is made to look drab and boring while under the water’s surface is a teeming colourful world full of fish.
Lenticular prints might always remain associated with kitschy memorabilia and be seen as the poorer cousin of video art, but this exhibition highlights that it can be a valuable part of the artist’s tool kit.
Instructions – Tilt to and fro / Lenticular Prints 1967 – Present is on display at Paul Stolper gallery, 31 Museum St, WC1A 1LH until 9 February. Admission is free.