Richard Artschwager began working with the synthetic laminate Formica because he was interested in the visual paradox of the material as “a picture of a piece of wood”: “If you take that and make something out of it, then you have an object. But it’s a picture of something at the same time it’s an object.” His experiments resulted in works including Mirror/Mirror—
Table/Table, a pair of unreflective pink and yellow panels set in mahogany-colored Formica frames, mounted on the wall to mimic the scale, shape, and form of mirrors, accompanied by a pair of boxes that sit on the floor, clad in Formica to resemble tables. The work simultaneously occupies the two-dimensional space of the wall and the three-dimensional space of the floor, toying with the relationships between picture and object, painting and sculpture.
Richard Artschwager (b. 1923, Washington, D.C.; lives and works in Hudson, New York)
Formica on wood
Mirrors: 37 x 25 x 5 in. each; tables: 24 x 25 x 30 in. each
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Barry Lowen Collection