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What You Need to Know: Leading British artist David Breuer-Weil’s new sculpture, Reflection Soho (2023), has been permanently installed on Dean Street in London’s Soho neighborhood. Commissioned by the Westminster Council and situated at the intersection of Dean Street and Oxford Street, the work features two life-size, textured bronze figures connected by the feet, emulating a reflection. The site of Reflection Soho is a creative hub of both the neighborhood and city, and the newly placed work emphasizes the continued importance and relevance of the art, music, and film scenes.
The installation follows on the heels of Breuer-Weil’s work Sister (2023) that was installed in London’s Hannover Square from February to July 2023. In Sister, the artist’s engagement with themes and elements of reflection were made literal using high-polish stainless steel, which reflected the environment around the sculpture. The artist also recently had installations in Portman Square and Kings Cross and is a counterpart to the permanent installation of Emergence II in Canary Wharf.
Why We Like It: Reflection, both as a phenomenon and as a theme, is a potent artistic starting point, laden with visual and metaphorical possibilities. In Reflection Soho, Breuer-Weil mines the diverse implications of reflection, achieving interpretable and profound ends through artistic means. Materially, the sculpture is positioned in proximity to the many glass windows of Dean Street, which reflect the sculpture and its context—such as the sky—which is constantly in flux with people walking by and the weather changing. Expanding this literal reflection is the positioning of the two figures within the work, inverse to one another, creating the sense of another dimension. It is an exciting addition to the location, which is an important bastion of creative energy in the city, as well as to the artist’s ongoing series of bronze works that play with the idea of reflection. Breuer-Weil’s work Visitor I, for example, shown in “Beyond Limits” in 2010 by Sotheby’s at Chatsworth House, featured a bronze sculpture of a head in water, with the reflection creating the illusion of an inverted whole. Reflection Soho stands as an ongoing testament to the artist’s inimitable vision and support for the historic and important artistic milieu of Soho.
According to the Artist: “I am very engaged with the subject of reflection and have concurrently made a series of paintings of the subject as it is a great challenge to paint a reflected image as it does not exist. Living people reflect one another in their eyes and minds. Visual reflections are usually an illusion of light, but in this bronze for Soho, I have made the reflection literally three dimensional. It is a very simple idea, one figure upright and the other upside down, the illusory becomes physical. However, it has very complex detailed surfaces: raw, shattered panes cast in bronze with graffiti and pictograms. The sculpture is deliberately installed near a vast pane of glass where it is reflected together with the skies above and the buildings of Dean Street.
Sister also deals with reflection but in a deliberately antithetical manner to my Soho Reflection, and in that respect the two works are closely related as opposites: using smooth polished steel I have cut a female form into an egg shape and the viewers see multifaceted reflections of the face, hands, limbs, and hair, in that case suggesting a more weightless fourth dimension beyond the physical, something spiritual in essence, otherworldly, perhaps inspired by the idea I learned as a child that humanity is part animal, part angel. With Sister I planned the shadows and reflections that would appear carefully, for example when the sun is shining a very solid looking shadow of a human face becomes clear, emphasizing the figural elements of the work, and when this happens it resembles the solidity of the lower ‘reflected’ figure in the Soho Reflection. The human head at the top of the egg is also reflected in miniature at the base of the egg internally. I have been exploring these ideas further in a series of tiny maquettes that seek to expand sculptural language into more dimensions. What connects all these works is the sculptor’s process of thinking about weight and weightlessness, physicality, and illusion, the figurative and the abstract, and reflection as a metaphor for thought.”
Learn more about David Breuer-Weil here.
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