Strijdom van der Merwe at Nanhui Art Festival in Taiwan

Strijdom van der Merwe at Nanhui Art Festival in Taiwan

WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES via Strijdom van der Merwe


Local artist Strijdom van der Merwe’s optical illusion artwork “Staircase to Heaven” is on display as part of the Nanhui Art Project in Taiwan.

Using smart angles and clever design, the staircase appears to ascend far into the sky when viewed from the correct points. The staircase is, in fact, a two-dimensional vertical ladder that uses tricks of the eye to give its real feel.

strijdom van der merwe

Van der Merwe is well known for his installations, acclaimed land art and large-scale sculptural works – which all nod towards the environment and nature. Known for using natural materials found on-site, he has work shown across the globe.

strijdom van der merwe

The staircase holds no horizontal depth and relies completely on the viewpoints and angles perceived by the person observing the art.

strijdom van der merwe

First unveiled at the Hermanus Fine Arts Festival in 2016, it was then bought by a private art collector and is housed at Creation wine farm in the Hemel and Aarde. Strijdom recreated the work with a slight twist for the Nanhui Art Project. He then commissioned a local Taiwanese artist and craftsman to assemble and build the new version overseas.

Looking for more on local art? Take a look at these South African abstract artists.