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Dictionary for Building: Fireplace Mantel

A work made of painted wood, mirror, and plexiglas.
© Siah Armajani

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  • A work made of painted wood, mirror, and plexiglas.

Date:

1981–82

Artist:

Siah Armajani
American, born Iran, 1939-2020

About this artwork

Siah Armajani’s affinity for interior and public architecture is articulated in this sculpture, one of his early works from his Dictionary for Building sculpture series, in which he combines text from Robert Frost’s poem, The Hill Wife (1916) with abstracted, yet recognizable furniture or architectural objects, in this case a fireplace mantel. The poem’s text about a couple’s uneasy relationship with their home expands upon Armajani’s interpretation of a mantel as a dynamic structure—as opposed to a fixed centerpiece or sentimental hearth—to be moved through and around. Mirrors, which conventionally are installed above a fireplace, are angled inwards to reveal otherwise imperceptible aspects of the structure. For the artist, sculpture was “not a thing between four walls in a geometric spatial sense but a tool which directs us into a place for living, sitting, resting, reading, eating, and talking,” suggesting a symbiotic relationship between furniture, sculpture and architecture.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Contemporary Art

Artist

Siah Armajani

Title

Dictionary for Building: Fireplace Mantel

Place

Iran (Object made in)

Date

1981–1982

Medium

Painted wood, mirror, and Plexiglas

Dimensions

238.8 × 234.9 × 90.2 cm (94 × 92 1/2 × 35 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Society for Contemporary Art

Reference Number

1982.403

Copyright

© Siah Armajani

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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