August 23, 2022
65 color illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.05 Pounds (US)
$50.00 USD, £39.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Impossible Arises

Oscar Reutersvärd and His Contemporaries

The Impossible Arises explores the life and work of Oscar Reutersvärd (1916–2002), founder of the Impossible Figures movement. The movement began in Stockholm in 1934 when eighteen-year-old Reutersvärd drew the first impossible triangle. Over the course of his life he would go on to draw around 4000 impossible figures and be honored by the Swedish government with an issue of stamps showing his work.

Based on a large collection of Reutersvärd's art and correspondence held at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington, the lavishly illustrated Impossible Arises examines the evolution of Reutersvärd's impossible figures and how they influenced other modern artists in the later twentieth century.

The Impossible Arises offers a detailed look at the philosophy guiding Reutersvärd's art and presents a rich array of stories from his eccentric personal life. It is an essential introduction to the life and career of one of the most fascinating artists of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Chris Mortensen is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide. He is author of Inconsistent Mathematics and Inconsistent Geometry.


"Mortensen's book is a captivating and unique combination of art history and philosophical reflection. It will fascinate any thoughtful reader and is required reading for anyone interested in the genre of "impossible pictures." Someone who reads the book will never see such pictures in quite the same way again."—Graham Priest, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

"Whoever believes that thinking about the impossible must be itself impossible, should read this book. Combining art, art history, logic and philosophy, the reader will explore the richly structured world of impossibilia. The book's title is indeed true: Chris Mortensen makes the impossible arise."—Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

"This is a beautiful book about impossible pictures and the people who draw them. Art, mathematics, philosophy, and history meet in a huge gallery of mind-bending paradoxical images. Mortensen brings long experience and a light touch as he guides us through this strange corner of geometry."—Zach Weber, University of Otago

9780253062338 : the-impossible-arises-mortensen
164 Pages
$50.00 USD

Other Titles from Special Publications of the Lilly Library

Love and Loss in Hollywood

edited by Cooper C. Graham, Christoph Irmscher
Feb 2021 - Indiana University Press
$80.00 USD - Hardback
$45.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Poems Written Abroad

Stephen Spender, edited by Christoph Irmscher
Jul 2019 - Indiana University Press
$22.00 USD - Hardback

A Legacy of Honor

Kate Cruikshank
Mar 2019 - Indiana University Press
$19.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in DESIGN / History & Criticism

Situating Design in Alberta

edited by Isabel Prochner, Tim Antoniuk, foreword by Douglas J. Cardinal, with contributions by Ken Bautista, Carlos Fiorentino, Maria Goncharova, Andrea Hirji, Mark Iantkow, Barry Johns, Lyubava Kroll, Courtenay Ruth McKay, Skye Oleson...
Jan 2022 - University of Alberta Press
$39.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Washington and Baltimore Art Deco

Richard Striner and Melissa Blair
Apr 2014 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$52.00 USD - Hardback


Claudia Gorbman
Jul 2012 - Museum of Glass
$50.00 USD - Hardback