Ellen Harvey: Mirror

Curated by Alex Baker
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia
October 15, 2005 – January 8, 2006

The ornate entry staircase of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was re-created as a ruin drawn in light in the hexagonal room at the top of the stairs. Four rear-illuminated hand-engraved mirrored Plexiglas panels depicted each corner of the staircase; a video projection hung between the panels completed the drawing. Side rooms showed video drawings of the two previous Academy buildings.

The video projected in the center of the Mirror installation, Endlessly Breaking Mirror, is a composite of sixteen videos that together create a video drawing of the central view of the Academy staircase. For each video, the camera was placed on a section of a photograph of the staircase, facing a mirror. Over the next hour, the artist engraved into the back of the mirror, using a live feed from the video camera to match the engraving to the photograph. At the end of each hour, the artist smashed each mirror with a hammer.

Monitors in the two side rooms showed videos of hour-long drawings of the first two destroyed Academy buildings. At the end of each hour, when the central video shatters, the drawings burst into flame and burns away revealing mirrors beneath.

All video editions: 3 plus artist’s proof. Cinematography: Jan Baracz. Video editing: Lauren Petty with Harvestworks.


Excerpt from Exhibition Catalogue: Shamin Momin: True Mirror: A Reflection on Seeing & Believing

Excerpt from Exhibition Catalogue: Alex Baker: Ruined Reflections

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