Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This is an interactive sculpture that visitors can walk inside and around. It is made from high-polished stainless steel and aluminum. It features 75 reflective posts that form a labyrinth, or sculptural maze. The posts mirror and distort the surrounding environment.
- Jeppe Hein is a Danish artist who creates interactive public art installations that explore perception and illusion. They encourage viewers to focus on their own experience and perception of the surrounding space.
- Hein’s sculptures use minimal forms to emphasize the connections between art, architecture, and technical innovation. His work often challenges viewers’ spatial awareness (an awareness of objects in space and one’s own body position in relation to them) and brings awareness to the impact that humans have on the environment.
Mirror Labyrinth NY has greeted Museum visitors and Park-goers along the walkway to West Building since 2022. A gift from Pat and Tom Gipson, long-time supporters of art in the Park, the work was created in 2016 by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. It is composed of 75 reflective posts that are equally spaced apart from one another and are of varying heights.
These mirror-polished, stainless-steel panels are placed in three radiating arcs that form a labyrinth, mirroring and distorting the surrounding environment. When discussing the use of mirrored surfaces in his artwork, Hein has noted that
“Mirrors alter and question our perception of our surroundings and ourselves. Mirrors make us reflect on our own presence by addressing our physical and mental experience of an environment and our position within it. My mirror installations always refer to the presence of the visitor and the artwork in the space, asking the audience: Why are you here? What are you doing here? How do you observe artwork and space? How are you observed by artwork and space?”
The mirrored posts appear to recede into the landscape at times and boldly contrast with it at others. The multifaceted reflections the posts create put the viewer in an unfamiliar and disorienting setting, challenging their perception of space as they walk through the labyrinth. Each step further alters their already shifted perspective of art, nature, and people as they catch fleeting reflections of themselves, other visitors, and the environment.
COVID played a heavy hand in slowing down the Mirror Labyrinth NY installation. Though it was curated for the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park in 2020, supply chain bottlenecks, staff shortages, and travel restrictions delayed the sculpture’s completion for a full two years.
Resources for Teachers
- Read the artist’s biography.
- Watch an interview with Hein.
- Read an article about an exhibition of the artist’s work.
Resources for Students: