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Planographic print, 1975
Signed Print Edition of 100
H 109cm x W 81cm
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Toni Clayton, American Pop & Modern Specialist
Roy Lichtenstein's use of the mirror motif is one of the metaphorical objects the artist delved into in his research concerning perception and representation. Before The Mirror from 1975 is a fragmented composition, depicting a single paneled rectangular mirror with still life. This signed planographic print is part of a limited edition of 100.
In keeping with the traditions of object painting, Before The Mirror maintains the conventional appearance of its main motif. However, the artist dismisses the object’s intended purposes, removing its metaphorical implications, as well as its functionality. Instead, Lichtenstein focuses on the unpaintable aspect of mirrors; the play of reflections. Growing his fragmented composition with great geometric precision, the artist utilises the abstract and artificial qualities of his own visual language.
Before The Mirror is both constituted and obscured by a pop aesthetic in its depiction of a mirror with still life. Adorned by diversified streaks and parallel diagonal lines, the patterns allude to the optical attributes of luminous glass. As usual, Lichtenstein portrays his mirror frontally, compensating the absence of concrete reflections by placing a lemon and a glass in their place. Presented legibly but consistently qualified by flatness and a matte finish, the work functions as a sly misrepresentation.
Over the course of his career, Lichtenstein worked on several series of object paintings, which also conveyed material realities in the style of comics. With his Entablatures, for instance, he reproduced magnified architectural fragments. Meanwhile, his Water Lilies and Reflections series conducted further investigations into light, perception, and representation.