Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Town to install 'invisible' art

Mirror men at David Marshall Lodge
Can you spot four sculptures? Rob Mulholland's figures blend into the woodland

"Invisible" figures that appear to blend into the environment are to be installed in Alloa as part of the town's regeneration.

The four sculptures, about 2.6m high, have been designed by Aberfoyle artist Rob Mulholland.

The "invisibility" is achieved by using mirrored Perspex, which gives distorted reflections of the nearby area.

It has been dubbed the Predator effect after the 1987 film with an alien life form that blends into its surroundings.

Mr Mulholland has designed similar installations for the forest trail around Loch Ard and the David Marshall Lodge, Aberfoyle.

The four mirrored figures were commissioned for the Imagine Alloa project, a £2m regeneration of the Clackmannanshire town.

They will be situated at the top of Alloa High Street and put in place in March.


One of the figures will actually be modelled on a silhouette of someone who lives in the local area, Clackmannanshire Council said.

Mr Mulholland, a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, said people were often fascinated by the invisibility effect.

He added: "People have taken photos of the figures and posted them on the web and others ask if the effect has been achieved with Photoshop - but it's just a straight photograph."

Because of their reflective surface, the chameleon-like figures are just about discernable from their surroundings.

The artist said he got the idea of using mirrored Perspex while designing fox sculptures for the Loch Ard Trail.

'Alters reality'

"I was trying to rack my brain and think of more imaginative ways to represent foxes in sculpture," he said.

"One day I had a mirror on the wall of my studio and it got me thinking that foxes are quite elusive and how could they blend into the landscape."

Mr Mulholland told BBC Scotland the key to the effect was creating a distorted reflection.

"It alters reality, one moment you see them and the next moment they blend in," he said.

"There's an ambiguity to it - it doesn't answer all the questions."

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