UbuWeb | UbuWeb Papers

Mirror Piece (1967)
Ian Burn

Consider the following individuations:

a) An ordinary mirror hanging in a room. The spectator identifies it as a mirror through his immediate recognition of its normal function.

b) The same mirror hanging in a gallery. The spectator still recognizes it as a mirror but assumes that the intention of the mirror is as art. The mirror then can be classified by either its normal function or its intentional function as art. However, although the art context frames the intentional function, the spectator is given no indication of any underlying concept to support such a function.

c) The same mirror hanging in a room or a gallery, displayed with notes and diagrams. This concept becomes a framework for the mirror as art and aims at getting the spectator’s “seeing” to cohere against a particular background of inferred knowledge. The context of room or gallery no longer serves to identify the function of the mirror; the intention is built into the work.