The Mirror

Maker and role
Artist: Isamu Noguchi, American, 1904-1988

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Painted aluminum
height, 63 1/2in (161.3cm)
Credit line
Gift of the Estate of Tom Slick
Accession number
Object type
Further information
The Mirror is one of 33 sculptures Isamu Noguchi made out of industrial aluminum. Beginning with a paper model for each work, the artist then traced the model's flattened shape onto a single sheet of aluminum to create the finished sculpture. In the method of construction and appearance, these sculptures recall origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. 19 of these 33 works, including The Mirror, were shown in a 1961 exhibition titled Weightlessness, held at the Cordier and Warren Gallery in New York. As the exhibition's title suggests, Noguchi was attempting to convey a sense of weightlessness.

In The Mirror, a thin folded piece of aluminum supports a larger, flat shape that is quadrilateral with rounded corners and sits precariously balanced atop a thin support. The sculpture resembles a hand mirror although the typically reflective aluminum has been painted black. An opening in the upper element creates a window that also resembles an eye. Three nodules irregularly placed along the perimeter of the upper element contribute to a sense of anthropomorphism.

The sense of anthropomorphism, allusion to architecture, and use of industrial materials correpsond to sculpture and drawings Noguchi created in the 1930s and 40s. However, in 1961, The Mirror and other works in the Weightlessness exhibition were considered by critics as too commercial.
Subject period


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