Mirrors are a motif that has inspired artists troughout centuries. Unlike other genres, such as music or literature, the visual arts have a double interest in reflec-tion surfaces: on the one hand as a content-related symbol for self-reflection and understanding, on the other hand as an optical phenomenon.
The two-part exhibition “Mirror, Mirror…” in Kunstmuseum Heidenheim explores both aspects of the theme.
Mirrors as an artistic material have had been a great appeal since centuries. Through their reflective surfaces, they can depict and multiply real objects. With several mirrors, labyrinths can be built that deceive our senses. Mirrors expand and comment the surrounding exhibition space, they can make the audience to a part of the work and enter into a dialogue with visitors.
Mirror depictions have a long tradition in painting. Famous depictions such as Jan van Eyck’s “Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini” or Caravaggio’s painting of “Narcissus” bear witness to the skill with which painters integrated reflective surfaces into their works.
The history of the mirror as a pictorial material, on the other hand, is much shor-ter. Here, especially artists of the ZERO group and its circle have made a great effort in exploring optical phenomena with glass, mirrors and light. Above all it was Adolf Luther who most prominently used mirrors and glass as media to crea-te completely new spatial impressions. Especially through the use of concave mir-rors, he made use of optical phenomena and at the same time managed to achie-ve a completely new interaction with the audience, which distorted and multiplied in front of the work. Both aspects, optics and audience dialogue, were continued and intensified in contemporary art of he last three decades.
In der Malerei haben Spiegeldarstellungen eine lange Tradition. Die Geschichte des Spiegels als bildnerischen Materials ist hingegen deutlich kürzer. Hier sind es vor allem die Künstler*innen der ZERO-Gruppe sowie deren Umkreis, die mit Glas, Spiegeln und Licht optischen Phänomenen nachspürten. Im Verlauf der letzten Jahrzehnte wurden spiegelnde Oberflächen zum politischen Statement, kommentierten Naturerscheinungen, spielten mit Wirklichkeiten und fragten nach der Erkenntnis des eigenen Ichs im Spiegel.
Die Ausstellung “Spieglein, Spieglein…” versammelt eine Vielzahl an unterschiedlichen künstlerischen Herangehensweisen an das Thema.