Roy Lichtenstein launched his Mirror series in the late 1960s, concluding the sequence in the early 1990s. His Mirrors study the symbolic implications of the mirror motif in art and mythology. Historically, mirrors have been used to reveal complex perspectives and invisible truths. In keeping with the conventions of object painting, Lichtenstein maintains the physical appearance of his mirrors. However, the series liberates the item from its symbolism and functionality.
Mirror #5, executed in 1972, is the first rectangular edition of the series. The print conjures a flattened and unified surface. Two dislodged black and yellow colour blocks are pasted on a stark white backdrop. Fragmented red streaks and black dots adorn the rectangle’s edges, marking its framework. The abstracted shapes and the rich colour scheme constitute, yet also obscure the subject matter. Lichtenstein presents his mirror frontally, displaying the complete absence of reflections. Therefore, Mirror #5 is as much a contradiction, as an exemplification of a mirror.
Over the course of his career, Lichtenstein embarked on several other series dealing with vision and representation. His Water Liliesand Reflections, for instance, explore various perceptions of light and reflection. Meanwhile, Lichtenstein’s Entablatures delve further into object painting, reproducing enlarged architectural fragments as their main composition.