Specchi Magici is an artist-run enterprise for cultivating reflection.
Based in Berlin and Milan, and on our research into architecture, design and psychology, we produce and sell unconventional mirrors that are neither design nor art objects. Our genesis piece Mirror/Vase—simultaneously a wall mirror and vase—is designed by Riccardo Paratore, founder of Specchi Magici.
Our venture began during the pandemic, inspired by artists that went into the furniture business when there was a lack of market for their art, especially in the sixties and seventies, and driven by a desire for artistic space with emphasis on collaboration around the topics of light and reflection.
The beginning of Specchi Magici goes back to when I made a mirror piece back in 2015. A wall mirror that also functioned as a vase, it had a small opening to an appendage on the backside—a receptacle to hold the cut stem of a flower. It was poorly engineered at the time, and its evolution since had been long in coming; what I have done at last is take on an old artwork of mine with the help of an engineer, as I’ve also taken to seeing a psychoanalyst to better myself.
For context, some of the things that happened during the pandemic: a curator failed to inform me of the cancellation of the biennial I was to partake in, a museum paid up seven months too late, and a gallerist tried to scam me, none of which, one dear senior artist reminded me, was out of the ordinary even in these unusual times. I realized that I needed things which I had never had: mental and financial stability.
With all the institutions in Berlin closed, excess time started to flood my daily life. Most of that freed time, I converted into psychoanalytic sessions. And with clarity I soon realized that I could no longer subject myself to the vagaries of the art world. Inspired by the artists that created new business models for survival when there was no art market for them between the sixties and the seventies, I started Specchi Magici. As not an exit but an extension of my practice.
Still, my daily routine does not look so different from when I worked as an artist, save for having more control, dispensing with curators and gallerists. I’ve always enjoyed working in collaboration, which allowed new perspectives. As founder, I see Specchi Magici as a space for reflections, on collaborative efforts, and of course for production and consumption of mirrors that are neither design nor art objects. While my colleagues and I will be producing various mirror things, Specchi Magici will also serve as a platform for artistic events around the topics of light and reflection.
Portions of the profits will be committed to the collaborators, various NPOs, businesses and communities local and abroad, the list of which will be published on a rolling basis.