In ancient Mesopotamia, enormous pyramidal towers called ziggurats were built with steps along the sides, a symbolic attempt to connect people on Earth with the divinities above. With her latest installation, Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad reinterprets this missive with a twist on the ancient structure: a mirrored pyramid whose reflective surface brings the sky down to Earth.
“The Mirrored Ziggurat has seven levels that represent seven heavens,” Abedinirad writes on her website. “For me, mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture, and a medium creating an optical illusion.”
Depending on the angle it’s viewed, the multi-tiered pyramid wrapped in mirrored paneling reflects either the sky or the environment around it, making all but the outline disappear into the surrounding water, grass and rugged mountainside. Like Abedinirad other mirrored works–which include a literal staircase to heaven and mirrored stepping stones in the desert that look like portals to another world–the ziggurat seeks to make viewers feel a closer connection with nature. It’s on view now in Sydney, Australia as part of the Underbelly Arts Festival.
Paneling structures in mirrors isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that never ceases to mesmerize us. Check out other reflective structures that appear to melt into their surroundings here, here, and here.