Dan Graham

Two Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque

Permanent installation

Two Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque is one of Graham’s characteristic freestanding outdoor pavilions, here dissected by a high hedge in yew. The two-way mirror has a unique optical property: one side is transparent, the other reflects light, like a mirror. By assembling the glass plates so as to multiply the angles of refraction and overlapping of images, the artist captivates the visitors with a kaleidoscopic game of mirrors. Movements across space, inner feelings, conditions of light and transformations of the surrounding landscape constantly change our vision. The pavilions are conceived as places for people to meet, have fun, engage in conversations, relax or meditate, open to everybody. "My work is always about how viewers see themselves," says Graham.

The arabesque is the decorative style typical of Islamic art, consisting of floral and vegetal motifs woven seamlessly. Graham’s investigations have always focused on the mutual relations between environment, art, architecture and audience. His first pavilions from the early Eighties were a result of the artist’s interest in landscape architecture and the public function of gazebos and belvederes. In his essay "Garden as Theater as Museum" (1988), Graham interprets Renaissance gardens as the first museums of Western history.

Hence the choice to locate Two Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque in the Valley of Rhododendrons of Oasi Zegna, renowned for its spectacular spring bloom. Created in the Sixties by the great Florentine landscape architect Pietro Porcinai, this area has been recently restructured by Paolo Pejrone, another master of Italian garden architecture.