Phoenix from the Ashes
In German artist Thilo Frank’s The Phoenix is Closer than it Appears, the audience enters into the interior of the constructed room to experience a multi-dimensional view of themselves reflected back an infinite amount of times in the mirrored walls, floor, and ceiling.
What I find particularly interesting is the juxtaposition of the outside packaging of the space and the interior effect. On the outside, the audience is greeted with a single flat two dimensional reflection of their three dimensional reality in the gallery space by the mirrored exterior, but upon entering the mirrored interior, they are faced with an infinite and multi-dimensional reflection of themselves in the space. One can see themselves at all angles stretching into the seemingly infinite space creating a hypnotic experience. The room both tricks one’s eye and spacial senses into feeling like they are in an alternate and infinite reality.
As if the artist is addressing this feeling head on, the installed swing invites the viewer to swing and test the space’s possibilities. Rather than standing static in the room, the swing offers the audience a vehicle to move within the space and to view themselves in motion thus testing both the limits and possibilities of the mirrored room and its effect on the audience’s reflection.
Finally, there has been reference to a sort of Matrix-like atmosphere in the space given the green hue and the multi-dimensional reflections making reference to a muti-dimensional reality. However, my immediate impression was that the room gave the feeling of floating in space—the ultimate infinite. With nothing solid below or above the audience, besides the mirrors reflecting back their image, to indicate that they are still in a gallery setting, the space disrupts the audiences secure feeling of having ground below their feet firmly planting them to the earth or a protective roof above their heads.
Just like a Phoenix has an infinite amount of lives as it births itself from its ashes, the audience can experience an infinite version of themselves in Thilo Frank’s intriguing and hypnotic space.
For more on Thilo Frank, visit his artist’s website here.
For a youtube video of an audience member’s experience of The Phoenix is Closer than it Appears, click here.