Analysis: Visuals with Mirrors

Update 1: 12.10.16
Update 2: 17.12.16
Update 3: 10.01.17

Research on contemporary photographers and artists who uses mirrors in their work in relation to my concept of using cube mirrors. The references found here focuses mainly on relevancy to landscapes photography, to analyse and understand their concepts behind using mirrors and reflections.

Keith Arnatt | Anish Kapoor | Dan Tobin Smith | Karen Granger | Yayoi Kusama

Invisible Hole Revealed by the Shadow of the Artist 1968 by Keith Arnatt 1930-2008

Invisible Hole, Revealed by the shadow of the Artist, 1968


Keith Arnatt

As I developed my concept of using mirrors for landscapes, his works Earth Plug (1967), Mirror-lined pit, and Mirror-plug (both 1968) began to take an interest in me. These series of works all show the land, be it earth or turf, disrupted in some way. I was intrigued by his concept of using the mirrors and wanted to experiment with my own mirrors. Hence this analysis to understand his concepts behind these works.

In the case of the above image, an area of grass was cut out and chunks of soil dug out and then mirrors line a pit and new processes fill his new conceptual plans. The different approach from his previous Land Art works gave him much pleasure in shaping the constructed boxes – invisible and intangible but looks realistic for the third-dimensional images on the screen. Arnatt had created a scenario that allows his shadow, usually a sign of the presence of a body, to generate another absence. Yet when I view the image, I am left with a depiction of a puzzling object and yet so mesmerising. A section of the earth has been excavated and replaced with a mirror-lined case, offering great confusion to anyone encountering it or its image. From certain angles, it appears an optical illusion that nothing at all has occurred – and it is this nothing having occurred.


Keith Arnatt’s Mirror-plug, together with both of his mirror-lined pits, features the removal and absence, as well as illusion. These works are quite similar to my mirror cube; the context of where the mirrors are and what it reflects, in essence. However, the difference is that his images of these mirrors are taken from a top down angle, which reflects the situation of the ground surrounding the mirrors, not the surrounding environment.

These works take precedence in the later works presented here: in the mirror-lined pits, this absence of work was an effect created with mirrors, while in later works Arnatt’s focus shifted to the very idea of doing nothing.


Sky Mirror, New York, as seen from Rockefeller Center.


Anish Kapoor

Indian visual artist Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. He became best known for his biomorphic and geometric sculptures. Since 1995, he has used the reflective surface of polished stainless steels to create mirror-like installations that reflect and distorts the viewers and surroundings, called Sky Mirror.

This six-metre-wide concave dish mimic the reflection of the sky, creating an infinity of reflections, an illusion of endless impossible space. The mirror sculpture changes through the day and night and is an example of what Kapoor describes as a “non-object,” a sculpture that, despite its monumentality, suggests a window or void and often seems to vanish into its surroundings. The mirror’s use in self-portraiture is straightforward, but there it is another factor that seals the marriage between the artist and looking-glass. If art’s objective is to hold up a mirror to reality then the artist is a kind of mirror.



Dan Tobin Smith

Dan Tobin Smith has over a decade of experience working as a photographer specialising in the installation and still life photography. His work has been commissioned by clients across the fields of fashion, music, publishing and advertising.

In this image, Dan Tobin Smith has used the mirrors to create commercial works, and I think he has done well executing the shoot. Shoes and mirrors are meticulously arranged and aligned so as to create a seamless kaleidoscopic visual that seems to bend the reality of these shoes. Green and blue coloured boards arranged with the lighted platform produces another visual that seem to be in synced wth the shoes and its reflected image.


Karen Granger

Karen Granger was an MA Student in 2009, who did a series of landscape images using mirrors, titled Re: Series. Karen was interested in how we read, perceive and reflect the photographic back onto the world. She also holds an additional fascination in the conflict between the photograph as a physical object and intangible image, as material surface and infinite depth.

In Re: Series Karen explored the photographic seeing and seduction by creating landscapes of impossibility. She worked with found mirrors, taken to the woods, fields, rivers and coastlines to compose and catch indirectly glance at these images in-camera. The resulting compositions range from subtle linear interventions to more damaging disturbances that complicate the internal logic of the pictorial space.

The technique Karen uses here is a simple one. She has angled the mirror panes so the horizons between both the reality and reflection become seamless. but because the edges of the mirrors have been omitted from our view, we do not know which side is the reality and which side is not in the landscape image.

6837277989_96840fee3a_o_flickr_happyfamousartistsYayoi KusamaYayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career, she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, soft sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations; most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colours, repetition, and pattern. Kusama’s work are based on conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content.

The Infinity Mirror Rooms can be seen as the expression of Kusama’s interest in infinite, endless vision, something that can also be seen in the ‘all-over’ quality of her earlier works in painting, sculpture and installations. The walls and ceiling of the room are mirrored, and the floor features a shallow pool of water. Hanging from the ceiling are hundreds of small, round LED lights that flash on and off in different colour configurations. These lights in the dark room appear to reflect endlessly in the mirrors, giving the experience of being in an apparently endless space, broken only by points of light in the darkness.

 I have never been into this infinity room before, but from the looks of the image, just as anyone would be, astounding. Kusama’s use of these mirrors that runs parallel to each other that creates this optical illusion of the infinity. While this was an indoor installation, can projected landscapes be applied this way? if so, how would it look like?


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