This hole might look fake — but one art museum visitor learned it was very, very real

The artwork Descent into Limbo
The artwork Descent into Limbo Serralves Foundation/YouTube Screenshot

It might look like something out of an old cartoon, but the deep black hole sitting in Portugal’s Serralves Museum and Park is real.

On Aug. 13, one Italian man learned that fact the hard way when he fell into the hole and injured his back, the Portuguese newspaper Público reported.

“An accident happened,” museum spokesman Fernando Rodrigues Pereira told Artnet News. “Now this installation is temporarily closed.”

The unidentified man, who was reported to be around 60 years old, fell into the 8-foot hole and was taken to the hospital and later discharged, The Times of London reported

A museum spokesperson told the paper guests signed an agreement acknowledging the safety risks, as there were warning signs but no barriers at the hole. The spokesperson also told the paper the artwork suffered “a little bit of damage.”

Safety measures would be re-evaluated to “reduce risks,” a spokesperson told Público.

“The visitor has already left the hospital and he is recovering well,” Pereira told Artnet, adding that the exhibit should be reopened in a few days.

The sculpture, called Descent into Limbo, is a piece by the British artist Anish Kapoor, a Mumbai-born sculptor, according to the museum.

Kapoor’s original concept for the artwork, designed in the early 1990s, was a square structure with a hole in the floor, which he described on his website as a “a space full of darkness, not a hole in the ground.”

The sketches show that the hole did not go straight down like a cylinder but was rounded out like the inside of a circular jug.

The museum described the work in a pamphlet as representing Kapoor’s interests in “the formal and metaphoric play between light and darkness, inside and outside, the contained and the infinite, which underpins his sculptural oeuvre.”

Kapoor briefly gained international attention when he purchased the exclusive rights to use the ultra-black color Vantablack in his artworks, The Guardian reported. For a time, the pigment held a world record as the darkest human-made material before being replaced by a different material called “dark chameleon dimers,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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