1st Mercosur Biennial - Home October 2 - November 20, 1997
Luis Camnitzer regarding his installation,
»The Hall of Mirrors«
The installation for the I Mercosur Biennial furthers my speculation, which began in 1988 with the Venice Biennial, about hallucination as a false instrument of liberation and the parallel between the prisoner and the artist in the trivial utilization of this method.

The central space of the »Hall of Mirrors« is divided into quadrants by means of tensely stretched rubber tubes that describe the two middle axes conecting the walls. The axes cross one another above a pail, the symbolic recipient of feces in a prison cell. The pail has two handles that are aligned with the axes. On the walls, each rubber tube pierces a glass that has the image of the pail engraved in a form which appears as a reflection. The pail is on top of a platform surrounded by stacks of newpapers, the documentation of history buried by itself and inaccessible. The image of the newspaper on each of the stacks reflects the image of the stack in front of it and is itself divided like a reflection, creating the effect that each axis defines the presence of a virtual mirror. The central room has four entrances, one on each corner, and the access to each quadrant precludes the perception of the other three. Each entry is hindered by a broom which is covered by a latex skin that renders it useless. On the floor of each quadrant is a card with the queen of diamonds inverted like a reflection, something that is only detected in the letter Q. The cards are placed at random and are the only detail that does not follow the symmetry of the axes. In the two rooms to each side of the central room, on the furthest walls, is another queen of diamonds also inverted and provided with the only illumination of the space, which is otherwise in the dark.

In the minimal presentation of objects that barely inhabit this space, I tried to take an aesthetic usually associated with elegance to the extreme of the sordid. A space, which given the sparse elements that organize it, is often read as a whole and absolute; I want it to be understood here as fragile and fragmented, at the border of implosion. The adjoining rooms pick up nothing more than the resonances. Each one is filled with nothing more than the presence of a playing card.

© Text: Luis Camnitzer

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