Matthew Harding, Phyllotaxis 2002-2003, spun mirror-polished stainless steel (Detail)
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Andrew LESLIE | Mirror

LESLIE, Andrew
Australia 1956
Mirror 2002
acrylic on anodised aluminium
300.0 (h) x 640.0 (w) x 5.0 (d) cm
Purchased with the assistance of Jennifer Prescott and John Prescott AC in 2003
NGA 2003.291
VIEW: Artist's Statement |

RC Tell me about Mirror, what are the key elements that it considers?

AL One of the projects I have been working on over the last few years investigates the politics of vision and the language of seeing through the relationship between perception and the construction of space.

Mirror is the latest in a series of work that uses the interaction between repeated metal units, an image reflected from the painted backs of the units onto the supporting wall, the wall itself, and the title of the work to draw attention to and question such situations and ideas. If the viewer is prepared to look at the work from an oblique viewpoint a shadowy image of the text ‘mirror’ is revealed floating in a simple geometric space.

Language and perspective are both systems used to describe space. The simple act of seeing the ephemeral image subverts the viewer’s initial perception of the work and acts as a reminder of the subjective nature of seeing/understanding.

The idea of mirror as a space is complex and interesting for it has parallels in those systems that drive and reinforce cultural and social values and as such fundamentally influence the way we see the world around us. Mirror provides a contemplative space in which to look at familiar things in new ways.

RC You have previously worked in conjunction with architectural projects and does Mirror seek to question the boundaries between artwork and architecture?

AL I have become increasingly interested in the blurred intersections between art and architecture. This has resulted in a series of collaborative projects where it is difficult to define where the art stops and the architecture begins. This work intrudes into and interacts with specific interior or exterior architectural spaces often using the idea of the body as a unit of construction. Although Mirror does not seek to question the boundaries between art and architecture per se there are architectural elements inherent in its evolution.

As with all the reflection works Mirror responds to the architectural spaces in which it is placed—the reflected image changes according to the time of day, etc. It uses simple industrial materials associated with the construction of buildings to create complex spatial experiences.

The wall is a fundamental architectural element. Mirror uses the wall as both a support and a field in which to operate. In doing this it relates to a long line of artistic interventions in interior architectural space, including Constructivism and Minimalism.

Andrew Leslie in response to questions from Rebecca Chandler,
December 2002

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