Black Mirror/Espejo Negro

Pedro Lasch

The provocative three-part project Black Mirror/Espejo Negro by artist Pedro Lasch encompasses a museum installation, photographs of the installation, and this bilingual book, including many of the photos, the artist’s statement, and critical commentaries.

The project began as an installation commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University to accompany the exhibition El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III. In a gallery adjacent to the exhibit of Spanish Golden Age masterpieces, Lasch placed black rectangular mirrors on the walls, each with an image of a Spanish Renaissance painting behind it. Pre-Columbian stone and ceramic figures, chosen by Lasch from the museum’s permanent collection of Meso-American art, stood on pedestals facing toward each mirror and away from visitors entering the room. Viewers were drawn into a meditation on colonialism and spectatorship when, on looking into the black mirrors, they saw the pre-Columbian figures, seventeenth and eighteenth-century Spanish priests and conquistadores, themselves, and the contemporary gallery environment.

The book includes full-color reproductions of thirty-nine photographs of the installation, as well as the text that Lasch wrote to accompany it. In short essays, scholars reflect on the artist's work in relation to current debates in art history and visual studies, race discourse, pre-Columbian studies, postcolonial theory, and de-colonial thought.