Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: mirror mirror

mirror mirror


more play with some of the printed images from the last session in my studio,
now with a mirror... not sure where this is going yet but having fun with it

Marja-Leena | 13/03/2012 | 6 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Photography, Printmaking


It's a wonderfully playful image too. The brass (?) rim looks ancient and magical with its strange runes.

Hi Marja-Leena! Love your work - as always! Exciting news on the petroglyph front here in Kodiak. Check out this video clip from our own Alutiiq Museum anthropologists cataloging of 700 newly-discovered petroglyphs at the south end of Kodiak Island:

Concentric circles close together always seem to express time. Don't think that's just because of tree rings... Maybe because we expect them to continue on outward, like rings of water moving away from a cast stone.

susan, I'm glad the playfulness as well as the rune-like come across. The mirror frame is actually handmade ceramic but does look quite brass-like here.

Jacqueline! How wonderful to see you here, it's been a long time. That is exciting news about the petroglyphs discovery! Thanks for the video, I will look at it again and again. I see similarity to the BC westcoast petroglyphs, after all, they are related peoples, aren't they? Will you do a blog post on it, or may I?

Marly, that's an interesting thought on concentric circles and time...tree rings...rings of water moving outward... This is actually a carved rune-like standing stone called sonnenstein or sunstone from northern Germany. I saw a replica in a museum there about 20 years ago, and have used variations of that image in many works. The figures on the other hand are from pictographs in Finland, also appearing in some work. I'm telling you too much I think, but yes it is partly about ancient time and ancient peoples, a longtime and continuing interest of mine.

My initial comment does not seem to have registered. I was wondering whether your work was at least partly conceptual because of your title, the repetition of mirror. As it is not visually obvious that the frame is that of a mirror, I wondered whether you were picturing yourselves with the figures -?

By the way, have you heard about the latest research into all the petroglyph marks surrounding the animals etc? Anthropologists are thinking about symbols being a much wider indicator of a very early universal language. This is an interesting article:

Olga, my apologies for losing your first comment (and to anyone else that may have been affected similarly)! It probably got lost in the massive attacks of spam that I've been battling the past few days. The blog platform update is just awful.

Yes, the mirror does not show as such unfortunately because the other layered images obscure it and I was not proficient enough to fix that digitally. It's only a 'sketch' at this point, which may or may not develop any further to a serious piece. While playing with it I was not really thinking of meanings. I'm not physically in it since it is a scan, but conceptually I think it's about seeing one's past in the mirrored images of ancient manmade artworks.

Thanks for the article! I'm very familiar with Petzinger's fascinating research and writings. She's from Victoria here in BC too.