• Mirror | Mirror. Reflect Yourself!
  • 2021-06-05T00:00:00+02:00
  • 2021-08-29T23:59:59+02:00
  • Mirror | Mirror is designed to make visitors marvel at the diverse nature of the phenomenon of reflection. We face ourselves in the mirror every day. We constantly mirror our identity on social media. Our need for reflection (and self-reflection) is greater today than ever before. This exhibition invites visitors to explore the phenomenon in art history, in stories and in science. It includes work by around thirty Dutch and foreign artists and designers, all in some way interested in mirrors
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The exhibition starts with a smile: Turkish designer Berk Ilhan, who lives and works in New York, has invented what he calls a 'mürror' – a smart mirror that reflects your face only when you smile.

The main gallery houses installations by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. His life-size 'Mobile Mobile' has never before been shown in a museum setting. The mirror mobile is driven by an exercise bike and constantly changes the way visitors experience the exhibition space. Hein says, 'I want to inspire people to look at themselves and ask, 'Who am I?' and 'Where am I going?’

Sean Landers, Plankboy (Narcissus), 2019, Courtesy the artist and Rodolphe Janssen Brussels, Photo: Christopher Burke

Sean Landers, Plankboy (Narcissus), 2019, Courtesy the artist and rodolphe janssen, Brussels. Photo: Christopher Burke

Stories from art and cultural history 

The first of the cabinets presents a selection of works relating to art and cultural history: biblical stories, mythological tales (Narcissus, Amaterasu and Venus) and literary narratives (like Snow White, Alice in Wonderland and ‘Tijl Uilenspiegel’). It also addresses the use of mirrors in painting, both as an indispensable aid to self-portraiture and in the form of the Claude glass (or ‘black mirror’). Kunsthal KAdE has commissioned artist Jasper Hagenaar to produce a new work featuring anamorphosis: a distorted image that looks realistic only when viewed in a mirror. Anamorphosis is considered in greater depth in a special issue of Dutch art magazine Kunstschrift.

Science and design

Mirrors have various technical applications. The exhibition looks at experimental uses throughout history, from Archimedes’ sun-focusing mirrors to more recent solutions like mirrors used in winter to shine light down from the mountains into the Norwegian village of Rjukan. The James Webb Space Telescope is an example currently in the news; its folding mirrors measure six-and-a-half square metres and will be carried on a space rocket. Meanwhile, the Amsterdam artist duo DRIFT has produced a mirror made of synthetic obsidian that is a by-product of chemical waste recycling, and there are design solutions for use in health care, such as Gerjanne van Gink’s ‘ADS-mirror’ for people with Alzheimer’s. 

Hiwa K, Pre-Image (Porto), 2014. Video, one-channel, FullHD, color, sound, 6'35'', Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery Milan - Lucca

Hiwa K, Pre-Image (Porto), 2014. Video, one-channel, FullHD, color, sound, 6'35'', Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery Milan - Lucca

Reflect Yourself / Reflect Reality

The third and fourth cabinets contain works concerned with self-reflection and reflecting the world around us. They include Yoko Ono’s ‘Mirror Piece’ and the exploratory performances of Joan Jonas. In a new work created especially for this exhibition, Irina Birger has drawn lines on mirrors to create a network presenting viewers with deconstructed reflections of themselves. Another extraordinary exhibit is director Victor Kossakovsky’s documentary film ‘Svyato’. After the birth of his son, Kossakovsky kept all the mirrors in his house concealed for two years, then filmed his son’s first ever confrontation with one: a film about self-knowledge and solitude. ‘Mirror’, a video artwork by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Hiwa K, explores feelings of alienation: an antenna-like object covered with rear-view mirrors functions as a navigational tool. Another work, by Korean-American artist Michael Joo, consists of two police shields with mirrored surfaces. Rioters are faced with their own reflections. Finally, theatre-maker Carolien Arnold sets visitors assignments that reveal their true faces.

Job Koelewijn, Bonnet, 1992-2008, privé collectie, Courtesy the artist

Job Koelewijn, Bonnet, 1992-2008, privé collectie, Courtesy the artist

Natural reflections

In the rear cabinets on both floors, the physical phenomenon of reflection is related to the natural world. Such natural reflections, familiar to us from the water and sky, appeal to the imagination of many artists, photographers and poets. Suzan Drummen created a new work for this section and Kathrin Schlegel presents an interpretation of her work 'There Are Worse Things You Could Be Accused of Than Being A Flower', a bronze chandelier suspended above the water under the railway bridge next to Kunsthal KAdE.

DIY experiments with mirrors 

In the KAdEStudio, visitors can explore the theme for themselves. Experience what it feels like to see yourself reflected from all sides and write in mirror writing!  A mirror tunnel will amuse younger children and families can go on a Mirror Expedition in the town of Amersfoort, organised in collaboration with FASadE. 

In partnership with Utrecht’s HKU University of the Arts, a seminar has been held in which students created art works inspired by the phenomenon of reflection. Two selected works have been given a place in the exhibition. Students at the Sandberg Institute started working with video calling as an artistic medium in a workshop under the supervision of artist Lotje van Lieshout. A selection of the results of the workshop can be seen in the exhibition.

Participating artists and designers: Carolien Arnold (NL, 1976), Irina Birger (NL, 1972), George Hendrik Breitner (NL, 1857-1923), DRIFT (NL), Suzan Drummen (NL, 1963), Olafur Eliasson (DK, 1967), Gerjanne van Gink (NL 1987), Andy Goldsworthy (UK, 1956), Douglas Gordon (UK, 1966), Bert Haanstra (NL, 1916-1997), Jasper Hagenaar (NL, 1977), Jeppe Hein (DE, 1974), Cannupa Hanska Luger (US, 1979), Bernard Heesen (NL, 1958), Hiwa K (IQ, 1975), Berk Ilhan (US), Joan Jonas (US, 1936), Folkert de Jong (NL, 1972), Michael Joo (US, 1966), Job Koelewijn (NL, 1962), Victor Kossakovsky (RU, 1961), Sean Landers (US, 1962), LaTurbo Avedon, Claude Lorrain (FR, 1600-1682), Katja Mater (NL, 1979), Yvonne Mostard (NL, 1954), Hans Op de Beeck (BE, 1969), Yoko Ono (JP, 1933), Michelangelo Pistoletto (IT, 1933), Tanja Ritterbex (NL, 1985), Maria Roosen (NL, 1957), Kathrin Schlegel (DE, 1977), Dries Verhoeven (NL, 1976)

“Everything changed on the day that man first saw his own reflection.” 
(From Victor Kossakovsky’s film Svyato)

Mirror | Mirror. Reflect Yourself! is curated by Judith van Meeuwen. The exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of the K.F. Hein Fund, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and the Municipality of Amersfoort.