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Richard Artschwager

Mirror/Mirror—Table/Table

1964

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)
Mirror/Mirror—Table/Table, 1964
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

Yes, I’m an artist, but as you can see, I also make furniture, and I thought, why not pull them together? My idea was to make pictures of furniture, but in three dimensions. Now pictures are flat and sort of square, right? Could you imagine making several pictures of a table of all the different sides and join all these together to make something that looks like a table? If you made the picture part strong enough you could put something on it, say a book or a bowl of soup, and then it would be a table. —Richard Artschwager

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