Instead of a mirror over the sink, this bathroom has a framed charcoal portrait.
Could it be a relief to see an artwork and not dive right into our own image, as Henry Miller does in the the great Bathroom Monologue video, pondering his aged puss? As we all do first thing in the morning.
An elderly man we knew used to say he was always surprised to see an old man looking back at him in the mirror, when he felt himself to be 17. Would he have enjoyed not seeing the old man, at least for a while?
It made us think about what happens when we look into a mirror first thing: We face our deconstructed self, take stock for evidence of how and who we are.
We wondered what it would be like to walking into a bathroom-with-portrait-instead-of-mirror in the morning. So we tried it, first propping up the only portrait we have — by Isabel Rower — in the area of our big wall mirror that we’d normally look into. Yikes, it’s too strange to come face-to-face with someone we know — even as a painting — in the bathroom. We hadn’t thought of that.
Next we taped up a big blotch of gold ink we made fooling around one day. Ahh, nice. It said: Stop for a moment, feel how you are inside. Get your bearings, without going right away to outer appearance and how you look to the world.
It occurred to us we could place tape on one the side of the heavy paper to affix it to the mirror and act as a sort of hinge. When we wanted to, we could just “swing it open” it to reveal the mirror and see ourself.
Then we taped up the beautiful folder from an exhibition we saw some time ago of blue paintings we love by Ad Reinhardt. That took us far. We felt at once cast into our feeling self and illuminated by the paintings, the feeling and possibility they evoke. We delayed getting ready for the day so we could enjoy the feeling of “not appearance”.
We love gently shaking up what we take for granted…
top image via @maison_flaneur