COOPER COLE will be presenting a new series of posts on our news feed in which we look at one artwork in-depth. For our first post, we chose Chrysanne Stathacos’ incredible 1-900-Mirror Mirror (1993-2020), which is part of our current exhibition There are more than four, curated by Jacob Korczynski.
1-900-Mirror Mirror is an interactive installation that was first presented by Stathacos at Andrea Rosen Gallery in 1993. After an extensive exhibition history that followed, it is now installed at Cooper Cole alongside work by Andy Fabo, Robert Flack, and Tim Jocelyn. Surrounded by mirrors hand-printed with some of the artist’s motifs including roses, hair and ivy, each individual encounters their infinite reflection. Provided with an opportunity to ask a question using tarot cards about the future through video-phone communication, it offered a means to look ahead at the height of the AIDS crisis. Through her groundbreaking use of early video-phone technology, Chrysanne’s engagement with the future also anticipated the contemporary context we find ourselves in, when we look towards the reflective surfaces of our screens not only to see one another, but also ourselves. For this presentation at Cooper Cole, Stathacos will adapt the work for the current conditions of the pandemic by engaging in a series of conversations online with various people connected to the exhibition and its four artists.
Thirty years later, and amidst a global pandemic, Stathacos was inspired to reflect back on the social history of this sculpture and remember her friend Robert Flack, who died from the AIDS virus and whose work is also included in There are more than four. She plans to use his favoured deck – The Tantric Dakini Oracle.
Photo Credit: Maxine Henryson
I first presented the work in 1993 at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, at the height of the AIDS pandemic. I remember oceans of tears merged with snowstorms as I traveled between New York City and Toronto. Our friends and partners were dying. 1-900-Mirror Mirror confronted viewers with their own image in my infinity chamber, connecting me with the viewer by video phone as I sat in my Little Italy apartment with my tarot cards. What would they ask? What would I answer as I picked a card? I hoped to create a transformative experience, hope and healing unfolding within the never-ending vision of one’s self, seen through my hand-printed roses, ivy, and hair. Now, during another pandemic, the work will again be interactive, but online.
Robert Flack and I used to read tarot together often back then, doing rituals with oils, candles, sage and secret objects on an Indian bed spread on the roof of my New York studio on Centre Street. I have found a copy of the deck he used – The Tantric Dakini Oracle – which I will use now, thinking of him.
Robert Flack died in October, 1993, a few months before the opening of 1-900-Mirror Mirror. Jorge Zontal of General Idea left us a few weeks after the project ended. The sadness and tragedy of that time is still with me/us. Why were our governments and leaders not more proactive in the early 1980’s, when AIDS first appeared? So many could have been saved. WHY remains the question. Robert Flack, Tim Jocelyn, Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz, David Buchan and so so so many more should still be with us, that is the tragedy that will never die.
– Chrysanne Stathacos, 2020
To view more images of 1-900-Mirror Mirror click here.
For more information about Chrysanne Stathacos please contact the gallery: