Get tricked by the eye

SINGAPORE - A new museum which uses optical illusion to make two-dimensional paintings appear to be in 3-D will open at Resorts World Sentosa in the middle of the year.

The region's first Trickeye Museum will be the main attraction on a Little Korea strip. Visitors can pose within the frames to become subjects within the paintings.

The trickeye concept, a play of words on "trompe l'oeil" meaning "trick of the eye" in French, was popularised in South Korea in 2010, with three such museums in Seoul, Jeju and Busan.

It is quite a hit with snap-happy tourists. Last year, 500,000 visited the Seoul museum, making it one of Korea's most-visited small museums.

The museum will be sited near the Malaysian Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa, accompanied by about six shops on a 100m stretch, to be occupied by South Korean-themed fashion, food and beverage outlets.

The Singapore version will place about 80 paintings within a 800 sq m space.

Trickeye Museum's director Sujin Seong says choosing Singapore as its first overseas offshoot was an "obvious choice".

Ms Seong, 27, says: "Since we initiated this popular concept in Seoul in 2010, we always wanted to expand the footprint of Trickeye beyond the shores of Korea. As a key tourism hub, Singapore was the obvious choice... and (will) provide more compelling reasons for tourists from around the world to come visit."

She is also considering opening branches of the museum in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Hainan.

Resorts World Sentosa's Little Korea enclave will ride on the popularity of South Korean exports such as music and television programmes, says Mr Goh Chye Boon, 44, executive vice-president of resort operations.

He says: "We have space on the waterfront, so we hope to dovetail this small Korean town with the museum and have visitors stay longer."

He declined to reveal the cost of bringing in the museum.

The 80 pieces at the museum will feature about 50 that are specially designed for Singapore, while the rest will be replicas of more popular art pieces from the Korean museums.

But do not expect pieces featuring Singapore symbols like the Merlion, says Ms Seong.

The artwork will reflect both East and West to attract international visitors, compared to the South Korean version, which draws mainly Asian tourists, she says.

"So, for example, I can place a piece inspired by (Dutch painter) Van Gogh, and contrast it with another one inspired by a traditional Chinese painting," she says.

The works will be placed in six themed zones: love, circus, masterpiece, safari, fairy tale and adventure.

The art pieces, planned and constructed by about 20 designers and artists based in Seoul, will be shipped over to Singapore from March.

Ticket prices to the museum have not been fixed.

This is Resorts World Sentosa's second such facility. Its first is the Maritime Experiential Museum, opened in 2011, which covers maritime history and Singapore's past as a trading port.

The Trickeye Museum will hopefully please snapshot-happy visitors, says Mr Goh.

"Around the resort, many people take pictures everywhere - whether it is in front of the giant globe at Universal Studios or at the S.E.A Aquarium - which is why we bring in the Trickeye Museum for even more photo opportunities."

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