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These hyper realistic paintings of rugs – yes, rugs – will blow your mind away

Spanish artist Antonio Santin has created a mesmerising series of paintings that trick your brain into believing they are tactile and three dimensional.

On the surface, the theme of the paintings themselves isn’t much to go crazy about. They’re just, well, they’re paintings of rugs. The genius of Madrid-born Santin is to take such a mundane object and be able to instil in it so many layers of perception and that inescapable sensation of uneasiness.

What is the rug hiding? The morbid curiosity it awakens is almost exasperating.

Santin graduated from Universidad Complutense in 2005 and has exhibited his work in many private galleries and museums, like the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in Paris and the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern in Barcelona.

In probably his best known work, he was commissioned in 2003 by the city of Madrid to create ‘Tras Julia’ a fascinating sculpture of a young woman leaning against a wall of the Bauer palace – which was famously vandalised a few years ago.

From his official website, “Deeply rooted in the tradition of Spanish Tenebrism as well as his own training as a sculptor, Santin juxtaposes flattened planes with tangible forms carved by light and shadow to create a continuous perceptual dialogue in each work. The rug series evolved from his ongoing interest in the opacity of fabric as a device to obscure the body with abstract patterns and textures. Each of these works brings the background into the foreground while a discernible figure hovers beneath the surface.”

Working primordially with oil on canvas, the paintings of his rug series vary in shape, color and pattern. These are impressively detailed renders that portray ordinary objects hiding what could be extraordinary secrets.

Santin described his work to The Creators Project as “figurative paintings without a figure.”

He was working on a series of still-lifes before embarking on the rug project. But then something struck him, he explains, “it was cluttered by a never ending array of belongings and items, people,” and he adds, “ I wanted to get rid of the figure, so I literally did.”


About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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