Thursday, February 12, 2009

Window on the Wall

This looks like a window but it's just a trick. It's high up in the gallery of the museum of art and the panes are mirrored surfaces reflecting the real roof space opposite. This is very effective and a kind of trompe l'oeil. The eye is fooled and so we are asked a question about the nature of art and perception. For me it's quite the best bit of the museum. And this time, I didn't get into trouble for taking the shot. Symbolically the window is about receptivity but the mirror is associated with reflection. Many cultures associate mirrors with the soul - both dark and light sides. In Greek mythology, Zeus wanted Dionysos his son to rule the world. But the Titans were incited to attack Dionysos. Diverting his attention with a mirror the Titans pulled him from his throne, killed him, tore him to pieces and ate him. But Athena saved his heart, taking it to Zeus who caused Dionysos to be reborn. Zeus destroyed the Titans with a thunderbolt and the human race sprang up from the soot. So human beings are now half divine and half wicked - because the wicked Titans ate the divine Dionysos. No-one is entirely good ... or bad.