Jane Brettle

Allegorical Blueprint


This project was a site-specific work in relation to the National monument and within the City Observatory on Calton Hill, a high point in the centre of Edinburgh. The National Monument is an unfinished neo-classical structure which faces the observatory and forms part of a complex suggesting the ‘Athens of the North’, begun in 1822 but never completed.

In this work a meeting point is suggested between light and space in both classical and contemporary architecture.  Notions of reflection and mirroring are central to the debates concerning the ‘foundation’ of philosophy and the ‘structure’ of western ideology since Plato. The mirrored effect of windows often reflects the city back to us in contemporary architecture.  It is also fundamental to the mechanism of the Camera Obscura, which commands a strategic place in the history of Edinburgh, and the 35mm we are familiar with relies on a mirror to deflect the image through the viewfinder – by reflection.

Medium: Monument: Mirrored, perforated aluminium, floodlit with blue metal halide light. Dimensions: Each mirrored element: 6mts 40cms x 1mt 25cms.

Medium: Observatory: Polished steel, brushed steel text panels, ink jet printed cotton vinyl. Dimensions: Banners: Each element 2mts 40cms x 1mt 80cms. Polished steel mirrors. Each 1mt 60cms x 1mt 25cms.