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The Mark on the Mirror Made by Breathing (Der Fleck auf dem Spiegel, den der Atemhauch schafft)

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Dieter Appelt
German, born 1935

About this artwork

Dieter Appelt studied art, photography, and music, spending 18 years as an opera singer with the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In 1979 Appelt left the opera company to focus on visual arts. He has since produced a large body of photographs, often based in sculpture or performance and with himself as a subject, exploring themes of death, rebirth, and suffering. The title of this photograph is a quote from the 1910 novel Impressions of Africa (Impressions d’Afrique) by the French poet and playwright Raymond Roussel, whose fantastical and bizarre works were praised by his Surrealist contemporaries. This line—with its reference to mark-making, time, and ephemerality—has served Appelt as inspiration for his photographic work in general. Here, however, he enacts the phrase literally, creating a self-portrait of his engagement with picturing the intangible.


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Photography and Media


Dieter Appelt


The Mark on the Mirror Made by Breathing (Der Fleck auf dem Spiegel, den der Atemhauch schafft)


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1977


Gelatin silver print


Image: 30 × 39.4 cm (11 13/16 × 15 9/16 in.); Paper: 30.3 × 40 cm (11 15/16 × 15 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Acquired through a grant from Lannan Foundation

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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