What a sight and what a site. Kapoor’s C-Curve sits upon the gentle green curve of a South Down’s hill. It’s concave side reflects the sky, fields, town all the way down to the sea. Walk round and the concave side inverts you
and the wings of the mirror reflect from one side of the mirror to the other. You can spend some time wandering around looking at that most fascinating of subjects – yourself, or your partner, kids, other visitors, birds, sheep, sky, clouds, grass......
Mirrors in works such as Jan van Dyke’s convex mirror in The Arnolfini Marriage or Velasquez’s use of a mirror in Las Meninas have played a role within painting but Richter’s Mirror, currently in the National Portrai
t Gallery, and Kapoor’s C-Curve and Sky Mirror are used to literally reflect and get us to reflect on the nature of representation.
"Mirrors would do well to reflect a little before throwing back images." said Jean Cocteau. They do, of course. A reflected image has a viewer and is therefore a not a pure representation. The mediating surface also has a role to play in the shaping the image, in terms of colour and the shape of the reflection. Then there’s the context of the mirror, in this case a beautiful landscape. When you stand on the convex side and see yourself framed by a big sky, gentle hills and sea, you see yourself literally illuminated by the landscape. Walk round and everything turns in on and around itself. You appear upside down, your limbs are distorted and some reflections are double up before they reach your eyes.
The piece is just the landscape it reflects but the landscape in your own mind. It can also be a portrait, a sort of Gainsborough placing you in a huge landscape. It can also be a self-portrait that distorts and magnifies. Sometimes there’s small social groups, at other times you’re alone. Mirrors are strange objects and don’t just reflect, they do much more. They do wants the viewer wants them to do.
Take a picnic, climb the gentle slope and enjoy as finely positioned a piece of polished steel as you’re ever likely to see – and reflect.