Julien Berthier, master illusionist
French artist Julien Berthier is a master of the trompe l’oeil. While his work is conceptually complex, it’s the initial ‘gotcha’ moment that’s so well-executed you can’t help but want to know more. “Love love” (2007), for instance, looks like a sinking ship until you see the man aboard, reclining comfortably. Berthier constructed half of a boat weighted with a hefty mooring device that keeps it balanced precariously. “Balcon additionnel” (2008) plays a similar trick with a fake balcony. Held up by a crane, the faux balcony can attach itself onto the side of any building, instantly giving previously balcony-less residents the ability to step out of doors. More genius is “Les specialistes” (2006), a project in which a small crew attached a façade to a blank wall in Paris. Complete with a real door and address placard, the fake entryway is so convincing that it’s still in place now, four years later, and is routinely graffitied and then cleaned up by the city.