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Just hanging around: The illusionist who defies the laws of gravity

Posted on 1:57 PM by Sameer Shah

It just doesn't seem right.

Hanging in the air with his arm casually pressed against the wall Johan Lorbeer appears to defy the laws of gravity and be able to float 10ft off the ground.

In these pictures the illusionist performs his act before bewildered people in the streets of Madrid.

Remaining in these positions for hours at a time he says that he is acting in the manner of a sculpture or statue.



The German-born artist chats with the audience during the performance and encourages them to buy into the belief that is indeed floating.

His 'still life' performances have built up a steady following across Europe and his repertoire of illusions include one where he appears to be standing horizontally out from a street wall dressed as a street cleaner.

Johan has been working on his act since the late 1970s and believes his work is defined in the 'dynamic area between act and sculpture'.



Quite how he manages the illusions remains his secret. However it is rumoured to involved ladders, mirrors and fake arms. One theory has it that Johan holds on to a fake arm attached to the wall and then balances against it.

Johan, however, offers a more enigmatic explanation: 'My point of view standing on the wall acts normally; that is to say vertically.

'The optical perception redefines the wall as the floor, which is why from my position I perceive the observers as positioned against the wall.'


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