We are looking at La Rosa, a 1981 work by Michelangelo Pistoletto and part of Sound Vision: Contemporary Art from the Collection. I love this particular work because of its ability to mold to its surroundings. The idea that I am actually a part of the work when I am looking at it, instead of simply being a spectator, makes the painting feel more like a blank canvas or some sort of interactive installation rather than a painting on a wall. Instead of having to conform my thoughts to what the artist has created, this mirror painting allows my mind to move freely as I look at my reflection and think about the work in terms of myself. As I view myself in the mirror, I think about how I play a direct role in the work while it influences me at the same time. I feel lonely and isolated as I observe myself behind the small table and vase with a lone rose. There seems to be room for only me in this setting, and a wave of of solitariness rushes over me as I not only see but feel myself becoming part of the work. I wonder, however, how a second viewer standing next to me would transform my perception. The potential for such change and flexibility is what makes La Rosa so unique.
Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Rose (La Rosa), 1981. Screenprint on polished mirror stainless steel, 47 1/4 × 39 5/8 × 1 inches (120 × 100.6 × 2.5 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC. Gift of Mrs. Stanley Levy, 1986.7.2. © Michelangelo Pistoletto. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.
Gallery photo by J Caldwell