Fondazione Nicola Trussardi
I’ll Be Your Mirror
Frieze Art Fair, City Inn Westminster, London
October 15 – October 18, 2004
I’ll Be Your Mirror is a project organized by Fondazione Nicola Trussardi at the invitation of the Frieze Art Fair in London. The participating artists—Monica Bonvicini, Mircea Cantor, Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Trisha Donnelly, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Gabriel Kuri, Adam McEwen, Richard Prince, and David Shrigley—were asked to leave messages for guests at the City Inn Westminster, one of the hotels housing the largest number of trade visitors who come to London for the art fair.
Every day, after the guests who were registered as visitors to the fair set off for Frieze, phrases mysteriously appear in their rooms. These messages, dreamed up by the artists, are scribbled in lipstick on the bathroom mirror of each room, or left on the pillow like an anonymous letter. They range from private confessions to political statements: brief musings or sudden non sequiturs that open up imaginary windows onto the life of perfect strangers and silent neighbors. The imaginary universe of I’ll Be Your Mirror plays with the cliché of chance encounters in the hallways of old hotels, amid passionate one-night stands and the traces of secret agents who enter our rooms to leave coded messages.
The note left by Richard Prince, for instance, reads, “I eat politics, I sleep politics, but I never drink politics”; Trisha Donnelly flirts with New Age ideas, announcing “Tonight you are the 11th prismatic”, while Martin Creed leaves a simple X, a symbol that is both anonymous and universal. Adam McEwen cites classic hotel scenes and the famous opening of the 1960 film Butterfield 8, writing the instructions “1. Get out. 2. Leave the money. 3. Don’t call”; Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset use the space as a billboard to advertise “Socks at Woolworths: £ 1.25 a pair”, while Jeremy Deller cites St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews—“Here we have no continuing city”.
When asked to contribute a special project to the Frieze Art Fair Artists’ Projects Programme 2004, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, with “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, chose not to appear in the exhibit grounds in Regent’s Park, but rather to work in unexpected territory: for the five days of Frieze, the ten artists invited by the Foundation scatter their questions, doubts, orders and declarations throughout the City Inn Westminster Hotel, the official lodgings for the fair. The phrases from I’ll Be Your Mirror are also collected and printed on a series of postcards distributed free of charge at Frieze: a soft whisper that works its way into the conversations of guests and visitors.