The “Narcissus and Other Flowers” interactive installation by Lithuanian industrial designer Eglė Stonkutė is a captivating distortion of mirrors designed to encourage people to look within and contemplate the true meaning of beauty–a concept that is itself distorted in today’s culture. Influenced by Narcissus, a hunter in Greek mythology who was known for his great beauty in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and who inspired the term “narcissism,” the installation consists of three mirrors that manipulate and play with reflections in different ways.
Stonkutė explained to GARAKAMI that nowadays “the term ‘narcissism’ is used to describe excessive selfishness. In the legend, Narcissus ‘looks for’ his sister in the reflection of the river. I want that people would look for something more than outside beauty in my mirrors. The whole title of the collection ‘Narcissuses and Other Flowers’ is quite ironic, but it is not intended to offend anybody.” Instead, it is creative and insightful. This artistic installation moves viewers to contemplate their emotions and inner depth rather than their distorted outward perceptions.
According to ancient Greek superstition, seeing your own reflection is equivalent to walking under a ladder or having a black cat cross your path. Ancient Greeks believed that viewing your own reflection could even be fatal–and maybe the ancient Greeks were on to something. As documented by the lingering era of “selfies” and the billion-dollar industry of plastic surgery, it’s apparent that physical appearances have become a dominant power in our society. Stonkutė’s installation aims to mirror the distorted perceptions of physical appearances and all-consuming vanity back to us with a glaring reminder of what is really important–our true inner self.