tautology          nothing to see             radical art          



The perfect monochrome is a surface without any marks: uniform, textureless, polished: a mirror.
"Nothing" turns into "anything": the perfect monochrome throws the world back at the spectator.


The mirror only reflects what is already there.
It can show anything, but it cannot make a difference.
It says: x = x.


The only exception is the thing that cannot be duplicated: the subject.
The mirror returns the gaze of the observer. The subject becomes an object.


A mirror surface with a non-uniform orientation presents a multiplied, fragmented and/or distorted image of the world and the viewer. Automated cubism becomes a joke.


A closed optical loop between two or more mirrors multiplies an image ad infinitum.
Pistoletto's "Metrocubo d'Infinito" implements the thought experiment: What if there is no input image?

Les Expositions des Arts Incohérents

Detouche & Melandri: Mirror entitled "Quelques specimens des animaux embarqués par Noé dans son arche." (One of the exhibits in the "Musée semitique et semi-toc", 1883.)

Mirror entitled "Une bonne bille". [Date? Author?]

Mirror entitled "Portrait de tout le monde – cent francs à qui ne se reconnaît pas", 1889. [Author?]

Optical Effects

Heinz Mack: Ohne Titel, 1957

Getulio Alviani:
Rilievo Speculare, 1962

Louise Nevelson: Silent Motion, 1966

Adolf Luther: Hohlspiegel, 1969

Anish Kapoor:
Turning the World Inside Out, 1995

Isa Genzken:
Untitled, 2001

John Armleder:
Liberty Dome, 2002

Absence & Tautology

Michelangelo Pistoletto:
Person seen from the back, 1962

Robert Morris:
Untitled (Mirrored Cubes), 1965

Christian Megert: Spiegelwand, 1961

Joseph Kosuth: One and Three Mirrors, 1965

To add:

Art & Language:

Untitled Painting, 1965.
[Four mirrors on canvas.]

Robert Smithson:
Mirage No.1, 1967

Giovanni Anselmo: Specchio,
1968. [inverted mirror]

Roy Lichtenstein:
Mirror Nr. 1, 1969

Gerhard Richter:
Spiegel, 1986

Ken Lum:
Photo Mirror (Sunset), 1997


Broken Mirrors

Christian Megert:
Scherbenspiegel, 1962/1963

Michelangelo Pistoletto:
Broken Mirror, 1978

Gunther Ücker, 2004


Michelangelo Pistoletto:
Metrocubo d'Infinito, 1965/1966

Christian Megert:
Spiegelraum, 1968

Getulio Alviani: Interrelazione
Cromospeculare, 1969



Ben Vautier: "Je me suis regardé
dans ce miroir plus de 2 heures", 1966

Jeff Koons:
Christ and the Lamb, 1988

Rosemarie Trockel:
Profumo, 1990

Thomas Rentmeister:
Ohne Titel, 2000

Sylvie Fleury: Icone, 2001

Ottmar Hörl: ICH-Spiegel, 2004

Il ne faut regarder ni les choses ni les personnes. Il ne faut regarder que dans les miroirs. Car les miroirs ne nous montrent que des masques.

Oscar Wilde, ca. 1900. [Philippe Julian: Oscar Wilde. London: Paladin, 1971, p.326.]




More Mirrors

  Anish Kapoor

  Jeff Koons

  Roy Lichtenstein  

  Adolphe Luther

  Heinz Mack

  Christian Megert   

  Michelangelo Pistoletto

  Gerhard Richter

  Robert Smithson (Photoworks)

  Robert Smithson (Sculptures)    

Related Genres

     Stainless Steel Casts

     Monochrome painting

     Redundant photography

     Redundant video




André Gide: Traité du Narcisse. Théorie du Symbole. Paris, 1891.

Laurie Schneider: "Mirrors in Art", Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 5 (1985), pp. 283-324.


Remko Scha, 2005/2007