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Man in the 'mirror suit' helps onlookers see reality

Published: Thursday, Sept. 22 2011 11:19 p.m. MDT

Gustav Troger, wearing his mirror suit, visits the Golden Spike National Historical Site Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011.

Jay Dortzbach, Deseret News

PROMONTORY, Box Elder County — You can certainly hear Gustav Troger walking from a mile away.

Thing is, you just might not be able to see him even when he gets close.

“I, myself, disappear and actually just people are showing around me. It’s like an empty, animated void, if you want to call it like this,” the Austrian artist says, describing the effect of his mirror suit.

His entire body is covered, even his face, by hundreds of small mirrors.

Troger’s whole goal for creating "Mirror Man" is to have people question reality by looking at him, and seeing themselves instead.

He feels it's a unique way for people to notice the world around them by looking through him.

“The suit is almost like a painting brush,” Troger says. “It’s almost like a machine. I’m not represented as a human or as a figure. The audience is represented in my body of mirrors.”

Troger travels around the world to have pictures taken of him in his mirror suit at interesting places.

He’s been to Monument Valley, the Great Wall of China, Taiwan and, recently, visited the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Box Elder County.

As he walks, the hundreds of mirror make a clanking sound.

People look right away to see what that unique sound is; then they grab their cameras.

Troger loves the reaction.

“It’s sort of testing reality. What is reality about? That’s why all reality really exists in the minds of people and the history of people,” he says.

He also visited the "Spiral Jetty" nearby on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. This year, it was underwater.

But when he visited two years ago, it was above water, and he was able to capture some of his favorite photos of himself in the Mirror Man suit.

He says Robert Smithson, the man who created the "Spiral Jetty," is an artist who inspired him to create the suit.

Troger hopes to put together a book of his travels with the Mirror Man suit, including pictures of him and people’s reactions.

He’s also hoping to travel more and take lots of pictures.

“Actually, this is like a celebration of certain places,” Troger says.

E-mail: acabrero@desnews.com Twitter: ksl_alexcabrero

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