Joseph KOSUTH, One and three mirrors Enlarge 1 /1


United States of America born 1945

One and three mirrors 1965
Collection Title: One and three mirrors
Materials & Technique: sculptures, mirror and two gelatin silver photographs Edition: one in an edition of three

Edition Notes: One and eight - a description exists in a number of differently coloured variations. In addition to the pink version in the Gallery's collection there are variations in violet, yellow, white, red, blue and green. In each variation the appropriate colour is specified in the lettering. Each of these differently coloured variations exists in an edition of three.
Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: installed (approx.) 122.0 h x 406.0 w cm each 122.0 h x 122.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1978
Accession No: NGA 78.389.A-B
Image rights: © Joseph Kosuth. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia
  • the artist;
  • to Leo Castelli Inc., New York, June 1974;
  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, November 1977

One and three mirrors consists of a mirror, a photograph of this mirror on the same scale (and showing the same image that is reflected in the real mirror wherever it is installed), and a photograph of a dictionary definition of the word 'mirror', also enlarged to the same size as the mirror. In 1965 Kosuth presented other ordinary objects — a chair, a clock, a saw — similarly juxtaposed as object, image and verbal definition. These were the artist's first attempt to present verbal information as an equivalent to an image and to highlight the nature of both as an improvised code for a common object — a mirror, a chair, a clock, and so on.

In One and three mirrors and similar works Kosuth juxtaposed object, image and word. At the same time, in 1965 he created neon works such as One and eight - a description, in which the object or image is composed of words, each word describing some aspect of the object of which it is a part. Hence the Gallery's fluorescent lettering reads 'NEON ELECTRICAL LIGHT ENGLISH GLASS LETTERS PINK EIGHT'.

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.353.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra