As has been declared by many a theory, our contemporary day and age is that of the realm of images. Paradoxically, it has never been more difficult for each and every one of us to read, analyze, and interpret them. The speed at which they are disseminated, especially by the new technologies, seems to be inversely proportional to our ability to grasp them in all their complexity. If there is an object closely bound up with the image, which has come through the ages and the different genres of creation – from art to literature, and from the new media to design – it has to be the mirror. As an object with a scopic function, it also has powerful symbolic connotations. So we find it associated with different myths from various cultures, and it has a significant place in the psychoanalytical discourse, an essential structural element in the so-called mirror stage.
Somewhere between recognition and illusion, in one way or another the mirror invariably answers the question : Who am I? Bringing together artworks and design pieces, the aim of Mirror Mirror is to observe the link we have with our own image and way it affects contemporary art. Fifty years after everyone’s fifteen minutes of fame announced in 1968 by Andy Warhol, his prediction rings deafeningly true. From teenagers to forty-somethings, the paths of glory are attracting lots of choices about how to live, and the desire to be “somebody” has never been stronger, or so completely assumed. Models to be followed are growing in number, be it in the media, the arts or in new forms, heirs to the recent media formula called reality TV – wonderfully illustrated by the success of a personality like Kim Kardashian.
From Narcissus to the talking mirrors of tales, from issues of vanity to the possibility of a greater space, the exhibition Mirror Mirror also questions the notion of the blind or black mirror. Magic is not far off when we mention the manipulation of the reflection, and technology is often at the forefront in the most contemporary of objects: de-materialization of the image, distortion and avoidance, capturing reflections. From the tale to the contemporary rituals of the selfie, the pieces on view explore the theoretical, sociological, aesthetic, historical and present-day challenges of an object that is with us day in day out, in a surprising and dazzling setting devised for the mudac’s rooms.
MUDAC Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains. Lausanne www.mudac.ch // Curator: Marco Costantini // Dates of the exhibition May 31 – October 1st, 2017.