Exhibition Catalog

Mirror Mirror

Paul Robeson Galleries
Essays by Anonda Bell, Dorothy Santos, and others
Mirror Mirror
Paul Robeson Galleries

…This type of research has existed since ancient times, but rose to prominence in the Victorian era alongside the rise of eugenics. Laura Splan engages this old pseudo-science in conjunction with new technology in the series Manifest. Described by the artist as “data driven sculptures,” each form reflects an emotion enacted by Splan; the resulting sculptures represent captured expressions ranging from smiling to frowning. Unlike the forced participation of subjects in eugenic and physiognomic scientific experiments, Splan’s participation in this project was entirely self-determined: sculptures representing “furrow”, “double blink”, and “swallow” were created under conditions established by the artist. As is typical of much of Splan’s oeuvre, the work hovers in a liminal zone between science and art. Unlike Duchenne de Boulogne’s photographs, Splan’s work references science and art through elegant, calmly beautiful objects rather than with the tortured distortion of an unwilling participant…

— Anonda Bell, Past Now Forever, essay in exhibition catalog for Mirror Mirror


Susan Bright, Amanda Cachia, Nell Painter, Dorothy Santos, Jay Stanley, Anne Swartz, Jorge Daniel Veneciano, and Carla Christopher Waid, and others


Manuel Acevedo, Zoë Charlton, Paolo Cirio, David Antonio Cruz, Kevin Darmanie, E.V. Day, Leah DeVun, Nona Faustine, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Anne-Karin Furunes, Phyllis Galembo, Chitra Ganesh, William Kentridge, Riva Lehrer, Ani Liu, Jessamyn Lovell, Hyphen-Labs (Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal, Ashley Baccus), Peggie Miller, Anna Ogier-Bloomer, Polixeni Papapetrou, Patricia Piccinini, Wendy Red Star, Faith Ringgold, Kevin Blythe Sampson, María Verónica San Martín, Leo Selvaggio, Laura Splan, Dread Scott, Beat Streuli, Arne Svenson, Shoshanna Weinberger, Deborah Willis, and Martha Wilson


Anonda Bell, Susan Bright, Amanda Cachia, Nancy Cantor & Peter Englot, Victor Davson & Anne Englot, Jacqueline Mabey, Nell Painter, Dorothy Santos, Jay Stanley, Anne Swartz, Jorge Daniel Veneciano, Carla Christopher Waid


Mirror Mirror presents works in a variety of media from thirty-two international emerging and established artists and one artist collective to plumb the relationship between identity, cultural norms, and representation. In the most abbreviated of forms, a portrait is a depiction of a person, usually a face, occasionally a torso, sometimes more of the body, or even a symbolic presentation of an aspect of an individual’s character. The artists in the show have approached the subject of portraiture in a multitude of ways. Historically, portraiture was utilized in service of the ruling classes, and some of the works in the exhibition explore the machinations of the powerful, touching upon the fraught histories of colonialism, slavery, American inference abroad, and eugenic practices. Photography is presented in both documentary modes and as a means to deconstruct representations of femininity, adolescence, and motherhood. Other artists work in non-traditional media, exploring the portrait painted by our data and bacteria, and radical possibilities of self-invention through new virtual and bio technologies. Taken as a whole, the works in Mirror Mirror communicate the connected nature of representation and self-determination.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 140-page illustrated catalog with essays from Susan Bright, Amanda Cachia, Nell Painter, Dorothy Santos, Jay Stanley, Anne Swartz, Jorge Daniel Veneciano, and Carla Christopher Waid, amongst others. Mirror Mirror includes a dynamic schedule of free, public and educational programs that include a performance of David Antonio Cruz’s green,howiwantyougreen; artist talks from Kevin Darmanie, Riva Lehrer, Peggie Miller, Kevin Blythe Sampson, Laura Splan; curator tours; workshops, and more.

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