With the amount of mirrors I have in my house you’d think I shared the gazing habits of a certain mythological Greek pretty boy, but in reality I can go hours with an unchecked Robert Motherwell-like swish of toothpaste across my mouth. The truth is I love mirrors — all styles, movements and centuries from when they were the aforementioned dark, still pools of water to Frank Gehry’s enormous smoke-and-mirror building plates. The reason being, as my lovely friend Albert Aiona-Aka — who practices Feng Shui and has an uncanny ability to walk into a room, angle an obstinate piece of furniture and, voila! the room just flows ⎯ explained to me, “Mirrors are the aspirin of décor.” This always stuck with me. I wish I followed the Shui ideology closer but for now my collection of mirrors reflect light, colours and add depth to my little house. Leonardo da Vinci called the mirror the “master of painters,” and each room has a constantly changing artwork moving through it as the day progresses.
I was influenced by my clever and creative friend Deborah da Silva (http://deborahdasilva.com), who refurbished a glorious abode in St. James, Cape Town, that feels like a cantilevered gallery over the Indian and Atlantic Ocean cocktail of False Bay. This is her bathroom wall, with looking glasses that span at least four decades of trends.
You can spy my living-room in the reflection, I like to imagine my style as Lenny Kravitz-as-Sterling-Cooper’s-stylist.
My daughter MadKat’s room; Catherine Martin’s set designs for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet were on my mind. The Baroque-like mirror over her bed, I rescued from a trash collection pile.
I am a dumpster diva, and this too, was found on the side of the road, brushed off and re-commissioned to my kitchen.
The Buddhists believe the mirror reflects clarity and, when well placed, it can scare off bad spirits. This mirror I bought for a dollar at a yard sale. It has hand-written notes on the back, an account of houses it has graced, and times it has flung itself off the wall, mostly caused by natural disasters.
Can you imagine Frida Kahlo’s art had she not been surrounded by mirrors? (Fulang Chang and I, 1937 by Frida Kahlo) The bottom left, is an ink drawing by MadKat at four-years old which she called, ‘A Potato,’ the portrait above it, I did of my younger brother, Georg.
My next dream acquisition (I have many) would be a disco ball for the living-room, or any room for that matter.
Other than our friends being our reflections, we rely on mirrors daily for our own (cold, hard) reality, and to correct any Colgate mishap. But, I’ll just leave this Pablo Picasso quote here for you:
“Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?”
Which, in part, inspired this Michelangelo Pistoletto, “The Drawing of the Mirror,” recently seen, in Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I am originally from… yes, hallo, that is my reflection.