Proposals to study the possible applications of bioptical modalities of perceiving space and colours in psychiatry and neurology

Bioptical Art - Liviu Iliescu

Some specific elements of the bioptical modalities of perceiving space which I have conceived and presented in the monograph "Bioptical Art", published in 1998 are mentioned in the following paragraphs.

Psychophysical mechanisms of space perception by means of binocular vision are known. Eye convergence is modified when looking at objects placed at various distances from the viewer. As a result disparities occur in the images formed on the retina.

The bioptical modalities conceived by me result in projecting on retinas disparities as to forms and colours very different from the normal ones. Psychophysical responses in these cases may be noticed by using an optical device, through which one may look at paintings or sculptures, achieved following certain rules.


The German physicist and physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) studied the physiology of vision and the psychophysical responses when an eye contemplates colours and forms that differ from those seen by the other eye.

The perception resultant of these tests were called colour fusion and retinal rivalry.

In the case of colour fusion, a limit example is the psychophysical superposition of white and black, having as perception resultant a silvery colour. In the case of retinal rivalry, the psychophysical superposition of different drawingh such as a square and a circle results in the successive perception of the circle and square, at about five seconds intervals.

I have studied these tests, supplemented them, conceived and experimented other combinations as well, studying perception responses up to the limits of psychophysical acceptability.

I have obtained original reproducible results and called them: psychophysiological mixture of colours; retinal "cooperation"; antispace in art; spatial harmony; bispace in art; psychic cycle; dynamics of space depth; spatial disharmony; hyperrealistic effects; hiatus in art; visual gradient; hyperspace in art; space and time in bioptical art.

I have also ascertained that by introducing tests in art compositions paintings and sculptures -, tested subjects feel a much higher state of relaxation than in the case of conventional compositions. Relaxation could be perceived quantitatively by means of the duration of contemplation.

Abstract compositions generally have a low affective communication content. It may be greatly increased by introducing bioptical stimuli. Direct emotional states are thus induced by affective means and the rational is subsidiary.

The introduction of bioptical stimuli in abstract compositions i.e. differentiated stimuli for either eye-yields a rise in emotional responses incomparably higher than in conventional compositions. This may be proved by looking at the bioptical composition first with the naked eye and then through a bioptical device. A psychic cycle is thus obtained.

No differences are perceived between a bioptical composition e.g. an abstract painting and a conventional one, when contemplating them with the naked eye. Differences occur only when looking through the bioptical device. Residual effects (impressions) are obtained when looking again with the naked eye.

The study of the above described bioptical effects may also be performed with means and methods known in psychology and physiology.


My bioptical works, as well as the optical devices created for contemplating them, were displayed in the "Constantin Brancusi" Hall of the Parliament Palace, in December 2001 January 2002. Beforehand they had been studied at the Centre of Anthropology of the Romanian Academy, where the late professor doctor Victor Sahleanu suggested that an electroencephalograph be used, to follow up the responses to bioptical stimuli. The programme of research works could not be achieved because of the scarcity of funds.


To conclude, I suggest that a laboratory be created, equipped with optical vision devices and bioptical compositions. Psychophysiological studies (of psychiatry and neurology) should be carried out on different behavioural cases.