Few objects have as many symbolic meanings as a mirror.
Since ancient times, the mirror has served as a symbol of death, vanity, faith, witchcraft, spiritual contemplation and narcissistic pride. A portal to another world and an inexhaustible source of visions.
For centuries, creators of all genres have turned to the image of a mirror to embody earthly things in the form of ideas and reflections.
The mirror is a unique tool for dual vision: direct and specular.
Mirrored art objects made with modern materials
In an effort to make the invisible visible, young artist Erzhena Dondokova experiments with reflective surfaces in her cozy studio on the outskirt of St. Petersburg.
Erzhena makes her works by hand using a variety of reflective materials: mirrored plastic, foil, aluminum and stainless steel. For applying color, she uses both traditional painting materials: oil paints, acrylic and UV printing – the most cutting-edge way of printing in existence. Curved and distorted mirror surfaces are the result of heat treatment, everything is done manually by the artist. This is hard and not always pleasant work, but the result is worth it – she creates the objects that attract the eye and make you look through them at the world around.
Erzhena Dondokova in her studio, 2022
Having her Degree in Classical Art, Erzhena plans to grow as an artist using modern materials that are unusual for the classical tradition of painting, sculpture and graphics. For her there are no boundaries between genres and materials. Wall panels, sculpture and independent art installations appear as a result of her creative experiments.
Emotional response is very important for me
“I am looking for ways to evoke an emotional feedback in the viewer, I want him to experience surprise, interest and serenity when looking at my works. Emotional response is very important to me.
I personally enjoy touching unusual textures and surfaces, peering into reflections in glossy surfaces and watching with interest how it changes depending on the amount of light and the perspective. Emotions of interest and surprise are my favorite, it is very boring to live without them.
But despite the fact that my message to the viewer is positive and cheerful, I try not to forget how important it is to find your own path and constantly develop, this can be traced in my author’s technique – the mirror becomes not only a bright accent, but also a tool of the self-cognition».
Erzhena Dondokova “Mirror for my friend”, 2022 (silver plastic, acrylic paint)
The wall panel “Mirror for my friend” was created spontaneously, in connection with the emigration of Erzhena’s friends to different corners of the world. This work reflects the sadness of loss, but despite the context, the work does not make one plunge into darkness and rather shows that there is always a place for positive thinking. Erzhena considers changes as new opportunities and ways to meet her friends in the future.
Erzhena Dondokova “The Sun”, 2021 (gold plastic)
The wall panel “The Sun” is a very self-sufficient laconic piece of art, in any space the art object illuminates the room with warm reflections, and the pleasant shapes and play of colors fill the viewer with hope and warmth.
For the young author, the artistic image of reflection marks a continuous desire for self-recognition, self-knowledge and deep introspection.
Turning to the mirror as a symbol of truth, Erzhena continues to search for a place of awareness of identity and self-formation.
Moreover, according to the author, mirrors and reflective surfaces symbolize a kind of portal between reality and imagination, but at the same time, this is a means of expressiveness, dedicated to comprehending, perceiving and interpreting the picture of the surrounding world in its authenticity.