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Behold the square that's also a circle in this mind-boggling optical illusion

The Squaring the circle design in a mirror
(Image credit: Troika)

We all know our circles from our squares – squares have four corners, and circles have none, right? Well, 99.9% of the time that's correct, but this baffling optical illusion is both a square and a circle, and our minds are officially fried. 

Instagram user core.fashion has shared a clip of a square sculpture that transforms into a circle when you view it from behind. The mysterious sculpture with a fascinating backstory is aptly named 'Squaring the Circle' and was created by the art group Troika. While the design was created back in 2013, it's now come up for sale for illusion fans to buy, but they'll have to fork out a hefty $23,500; if that's you but you'd rather not spend the cash, then may we suggest getting your fix with this roundup of our favourite optical illusions instead? 

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According to the Troika website (opens in new tab), the steel sculpture was inspired by the book 'Flatlands' by Edwin Abbott. The story is set in a two-dimensional world where people cannot recognise three-dimensional objects – and considering how mind-bending this illusion is, we think we can understand how the people in the book feel. 

We love that this illusion has such an interesting backstory as it means we get a better understanding of the design process behind it (a bit like with this Silence of the Lambs poster illusion). We'd like to take a good look at this sculpture in person, but for now, the Troika diagram (see below) that explains the illusion will have to do. 

A concept drawing of the illusion

How the mysterious square/circle illusion works. We're not sure we're any the wiser, though (Image credit: Troika)

The illusion is currently on display at the Troika exhibition in Mexico City's OMR gallery (opens in new tab). If you won't make it to the exhibit and are missing your favourite galleries, then don't worry, we have gathered up the best online art galleries so you can enjoy some more art from the comfort of home.

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Amelia Bamsey
Staff Writer

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.