WATCH: South African artist's optical illusion is 'Staircase to Heaven'

WATCH: South African artist's optical illusion is 'Staircase to Heaven'

No, your eyes are not mistaken, these stairs go to heaven.

Strijdom van der Merwe optical illusion staircase to heaven
Business Insider/Strijdom van der Merwe

This staircase is not a magic trick.

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It is a piece of art made by South African land artist and sculptor, Strijdom van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe is a 60-year-old artist who uses natural materials on-site to create acclaimed land art, installations, and large-scale sculptures that have an intimate connection to the environment. His work has been displayed in Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Lithuania.

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His latest work is being displayed in the Taitung County in the south of Taiwan on a remote stretch of coastline. It is home to a staircase frame that is also an optical illusion and from the right angle the stairs lead up into the sky.

The sculpture is technically a ladder frame that extends vertically made out of 50mm mild steel square tubing and weighs 240kgs. Thanks to the angles and certain viewpoints, you can see a three-dimensional staircase that will blow your mind!

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The original staircase was first unveiled at the Hermanus Fine Arts Festival in 2016 and is now housed at Creation Farm in the Hemel and Aarde Valley.

The Nanhui Art Project had approached Van der Merwe to showcase the Staircase to Heaven and so he wanted to create a second edition on the condition that it wasn't copied exactly and that the stairs would be unique as the stairs have a twist.

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Because of travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Strijdom was unable to travel to Taiwan in the run-up to the Nanhui Art Project's launch and had to call on Taiwanese artist and craftsman Chou Sheng-hsien for assistance.

Chou had to build the newest version while Strijdom provided instructions.

See the optical illusion in action:

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