Sarah Oppenheimer For Adolescents

A black and white version of Sarah Oppenheimer's "C-010106"



Sarah Oppenheimer

American, born 1972

Subject: Reflections

Activity: Double reflection life drawing

Materials: Two mirrors (that can stand on their own, or be propped up), 8.5 x 11 cardstock/paper, pencils or varying hardness, colored pencils (Optional: tracing paper, markers, glue stick, phone camera)

Vocabulary: Apparatus, architecture, axis, pedestrian, reflection, transparency


Sarah Oppenheimer is an artist who blurs the boundaries of sculpture and architecture. C-010106 consists of precise forms that alter the environment and shift our frame of spatial reference.

At opposite ends of the footbridge, a pair of diagonal reflective glass plates are sandwiched between a pair of clear glass sheets. The glass acts as a mirror and gateway, allowing those walking on top of the bridge to see those walking beneath, and vice versa. By placing one glass form on a north/south axis, and a second on an east/west axis, Oppenheimer creates a “switch” that interrupts the normal flow of traffic on the bridge. This interruption encourages new relationships between people and a heightened awareness of the shifting light, sound, and seasons that surround us.

Oppenheimer uses the word “apparatus” to describe the forms that comprise C-010106. An apparatus is part of a larger system that typically has a specific purpose. While the works are designed to create the opportunity for infinite possibilities, the creative process includes many controls. While the artwork appears minimal and sleek, the design process was extremely complex, involving a team of architects and engineers working alongside the artist.


Looking into the structure, what do you see that is unexpected?

How does this art reorient your relationship with space? How does it interact with the surrounding environment?

How is the orientation of the glass important to human interaction?


Set up two mirrors to create a double reflection. To do so, arrange the mirrors so they face each other, but slightly angled. It may take some practice, but try to align the mirrors so you can see the reflection of the second mirror in the first mirror.

Play with this until you find a reflection you want to draw on your paper. Can you arrange the mirrors to create an image that is unexpected?

Optional: You can also add a second layer, or reflection, to your drawing. On a piece of paper with pencil, sketch a photo you took of yourself in the reflection of the art, including the surrounding nature, buildings, etc. Place a sheet of tracing paper on top and trace your final drawing in marker.

To combine your two drawings, use a glue stick to lightly glue the edges of your colored drawing, sticking the tracing paper on top.


The glass is held in place in the bridge with a steel embedment. Rather than being directly built into the pedestrian bridge, the steel embedment allows the bridge to move without shattering the delicate glass. Bridges can naturally move very slightly during strong winds and harsh weather.

Look again

While the sculpture itself is minimal, the construction of this project was very complicated. What are some obstacles you think Oppenheimer, architects, and engineers faced?

How does your view change being on top of the bridge vs. being on the bottom? Do you prefer one or another? Why?


Apparatus ‒ A complex structure within an organization or system.

Architecture ‒ The art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.

Axis ‒ A straight line about which a body or a geometric figure rotates or may be supposed to ro- tate, a reference line for measuring coordinates on a coordinate plane.

Pedestrian ‒ A person walking along a road or in a developed area.

Reflection ‒ The return of light or sound waves from a surface that create an exact image, similar to a mirror. A reflector is something that makes a reflection.

Transparency ‒ Having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen, admitting the passage of light through an object.