Art and Design

Public Art

In 2007, the Swiss artist Felice Varini was commissioned to make a new work at Cardiff Bay Barrage called Three Ellipses for Three Locks. He wanted to create an illusion of yellow circles. He painted on the ground and on the walls and even on railings and equipment. The paint made large areas in some places and thin lines in others.


The video shows how it looks as you walk around. Many visitors notice a lot of yellow but can’t guess what it is. The mystery is only revealed if they go to a special viewpoint, where a cross marks the spot.

You can see more of Felice Varini’s work on his website (in French).

Felice Varini, Cardiff Bay Barrage


You will need: a portable digital projector, a large piece of card, and a selection of shapes and images ready for showing with the projector.

Try projecting images on different surfaces. Project simple shapes like circles and squares and then try photos of people (maybe class members).

  • Look at the effect on a flat card. How does the shape change when you slant the card?
  • Project over chairs, tables and walls in your classroom to see how the image is broken up. Where is the best place to stand to make the image look just right?
  • Does it make a difference if you crouch down or stand tall?
  • Where do you think it looks most weird?

Extended Task

You will need in addition: chalks and a damp cloth so you can clean up afterwards.

Use chalk to draw on objects with the projector as a guide to make your own temporary Felice Varini. But clean up so you don’t get chalk on everybody’s clothes!


You can visit the work at Cardiff Bay Barrage.