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February 15, 2019

A very simple but effective trick

The smash-hit art installation, House of Mirrors, that debuted at Dark Mofo in Tasmania, is open for your gawking in the Garden of Unearthly Delights this Fringe.

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  • Words: Jesse Neill

In a similar – albeit much refined – vein to the classic carnival tradition, House of Mirrors at the Garden of Unearthly Delights will delight and discombobulate Adelaide this Fringe as we walk through the 15 tonnes of glass and 40 tonnes of steel in this one-of-a-kind sculpture.

Performance designer Christian Wagstaff explains why he and co-creator, Keith Courtney chose to recreate this mesmerising project.


House of Mirrors

Open Every day / night of the Fringe
Garden of Unearthly Delights
Suitable for all ages, House of Mirrors will remain open in most weather conditions until 10pm.
Tickets are $15 from the Fringe Box Office

“Keith and I don’t like creating digital work,” says Christian.

“There’s nothing wrong with digital artwork — the digital experience is fantastic. However, we wanted to offer something a little different as far as a static work is concerned. We wanted to create something that was an optical illusion and use non-digital optical effects.”

“Mirrors offer some of the most spectacular optical illusions, so we took the mirror maze formula and expanded upon it. It’s very elemental and very simple.”

The duo has worked together for more than 15 years, producing a range of large-scale installations and projects for various events around Australia.

Eventually there came a time when Christian and Keith decided to take on a new challenge, and it was out of this decision that House of Mirrors was born.

“Most of the stuff Keith and I have done was for clients, which we still love doing. But we wanted to get into the festival circuit and create our own shows — to do something more for us rather than other people.We happened to be in the right place at the right time and there’s been no looking back since this project got off the ground,” Christian says.

The House of Mirrors was first commissioned and produced in 2016 for the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania as part of their winter festival, Dark Mofo.

The exhibition has since travelled around Australia, Singapore, and Auckland, visiting a total of eleven cities and has had over 300,000 people pass through it.

The installation’s sold out appearances are owed to the inquisitive compulsion that draws inside, Christian says.

“It’s a very ominous and creepy structure that just sits there. People have no idea what’s on the inside and how it works so it’s sort of like an old amusement,” he says.

“As soon as they walk inside, patrons are confronted by this incredible optical illusion, simply created by mirrors in a triangular formation.”

Don’t think that just because this maze uses simple geometry that it’s going to be easy, though.

Christian and Keith advise ticket holders to allow ample time — a good half hour to an hour to get from one end to the other.

House of Mirrors

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