Monday, 12 October 2015

Of Mirrors, Mirages and Reflections

Shirin Abedinirad’s stunning mirror installations defy viewers’ perception of reality, while also offering unexpected perspectives of the places into which they have been set.

Much could be said about mirrors and the different roles they have played in different cultures throughout the times.  From stealing souls, to showing the manifestation of one’s mind and soul, to doors leading to different worlds, they offer an endless field of speculation and challenge us to question our very essence and our inevitable frailty and transience.

Aware of all this, Shirin Abedinirad, born in 1986, in Tabriz, Iran, and currently based between Florence and Tehran, a performance, installation and video artist, shifted the course of her career to work with mirror installations, in an attempt to explore how human beings connect to Nature.

In fact, her art works reflect their surroundings, thereby undergoing the inevitable metamorphosis according not only to the angle they are looked at, but also as natural light changes throughout the day/night. If, on the one hand, Abedinirad’s mirror sculptures seem to somehow “fade” into their surroundings, on the other hand they impose themselves as man-made structures interacting with the natural world.

Both in urban and desert settings, Shirin Abedinirad arranges mirrors so as to offer viewers the disturbing feeling that the sky is touching the earth. From placing mirrors on the steps of a staircase in Treviso, Italy, to spreading them in the middle of the Central Desert in Iran, she seems to bring the sky within our reach, thereby prompting the exploration of complex human relationships and connections. On the other hand, the mirrors used in ‘Evocation’ are meant to symbolise water in the midst of a dry setting, thus offering viewers the feeling they are looking at mirages.

In ‘Heaven and Earth’, however, an installation inspired by the Tachara Palace in Persepolis, one of the very first places to integrate mirrors in architecture, Abedinirad’s use of this medium is meant “to give light, an important mystical concept in Persian Culture. When the audience stands at the top of the stairs and looks down, they come face to face with an optical illusion that increases light and, therefore, the spirituality of the place. The blue sky spills onto the ground, mimicking a pool, and the audience is momentarily overcome with the desire to jump into the light”.

For her installation ‘Mirrored Ziggurat’, set in Sydney, Australia, Abedinirad states that she was influenced and inspired by Ziggurats, a common form of temple in ancient Mesopotamia built in the pyramidal shape and looking like a staircase to heaven. In fact, the idea was to connect earth and sky, thereby allowing humans to get closer to god. Abedinirad’s ‘Mirrored Ziggurat’ is made of seven levels representing the seven heavens and “seeks to connect Nature with human beings and to create union of ancient history and today’s world… offer(ing) a transformative view of the self”.

All in all, Shirin Abedinirad’s awesome art works fascinate audiences with their extreme beauty while also creating unusual and unexpected optical illusions that can completely challenge our perception of the reality around us as a mirage does.

1 comment:

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