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Observing 11 Panes Gerhard Richter

September 14, 2017

 

 

11 panes, exhibited at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The piece displays a freestanding three-dimensional construction of glass. The mirror reflects the environment and engages space, drawing the viewer in and evoking the audience to participate with the work. Richter creates a spatial relation between the viewer and the object, having the spectator play a crucial role in the artwork and essentially be part of the exhibition. Richter creates a space that allows the spectators to interact with their own reflections in relation to reality. In doing so, many visual phenomena’s concerning individuals’ self-reflections and images arise. In 11 panes we see how Richter’s attempts to question the conventional roles of painting and photography and the inherent ideas regarding the representation of reality. He alludes to perception and utilizes the power of mirrored reflections in order to force viewers to confront themselves while interpreting the artwork. Observing how people engaged and responded to the piece was very interesting, and through photography I was able to capture these interactions and concentrated in analyzing the differences in reactions depending on age and gender. I was able to observe children in the midst of the ‘mirror stage’; a transitional phase in which infants both recognized and identified themselves as individual bodies. I found it fascinating to watch how infants reacted to their own image as art. During my observation, I was also intrigued by the difference between how men observed themselves and how women observed themselves. Men accepted their appearances while women tended to mold their bodies and pose in order to be satisfied with their own reflections. When couples approached the piece, the way they interacted with each other also changed. Some would give each other a kiss, pose, or get close to one another intending to appear as art, externalizing their internalization of their own perception of a framed painting. 

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