On the outside, the mirrored walls of this unadorned rectangular box help it blend into the space it occupies–a gallery at KUNSTEN, Museum of Modern Art, in Aalborg, Denmark, where it was installed last year. On the inside–well, that’s a different story.
When visitors enter the nearly hundred-square-foot room–an installation dubbed “The Phoenix Is Closer Than It Appears,” by Berlin-based artist Thilo Frank–the mirrored walls have the opposite effect. Where on the outside, they diverted your visual attention, on the inside, they direct it–very, very intensely. The occupier of Frank’s room sees himself multiplied infinitely on the walls, floor, and ceiling–like a carnival hall of mirrors with a more rigorous geometry. The piece recalls earlier works that experimented with immersive, mirrored experiences, like Lucas Samaras’s Room No. 2, from 1966. But what makes Frank’s slightly different is the unexpected form of seating it offers inside.
Instead of a chair or a bench, visitors are encouraged to park themselves on a simple plank swing, suspended from the room’s ceiling, which introduces a dizzying element of motion to their battery of illusory selves. The text accompanying the installation probably isn’t overstating the experience: “Once [the visitor] begins to swing,” it reads, “the disorientation is at full effect: walls, ceiling and floor disappear in a spatial centrifugal motion, which seems to suck the body in and out of the infinite space.”
Just reading about it is a little bit overwhelming–I imagine visitors would be wise to keep in mind where the door is located, lest they get stuck in there like Homer Simpson when he took his accidental voyage into the similarly hued third dimension. One upside to a trip into Frank’s mirrored world, though: You’ll definitely be able to tell how the back of your haircut looks.
[Hat tip: Designboom]