Robert Smithson's "Enantiomorphic Chambers" on view at National Gallery

Robert Smithson's Enantiomorphic Chambers (1965) is on view in the exhibition The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. 

The Double considers "how and why modern and contemporary artists have employed doubled formats to explore perceptual, conceptual, and psychological themes. [...] Through art, The Double explores enduring questions of identity and difference, especially self-identity as defined by our own unconscious, by society, and by race, gender, and sexuality."

In Smithson's 1966 text "Interpolation of the Enantiomorphic Chambers," he explains the concepts that informed the steel and mirror sculpture. Smithson provides a definition of enantiomorphic in relation to binocular vision as:⁠
"Any manifest division between the position of the eyes;⁠
Contrary accommodation and convergence;⁠
Duplex structure of sight as an invention;⁠
Infinite myopia;⁠
Equidistant dislocation."⁠

In an interview with Paul Cummings in 1972 Smithson shared a more transparent definition of enantiomorph in relation to the sculpture:⁠
"...the left and right hand could be considered an enantiomorph. It is a kind of bi-polar notion that comes out of crystal structure. They are two separate things that relate to each other. l would say that in the Enantiomorphic Chambers there is also the indication of a kind of dialectical thinking that would emerge later very strongly in the Nonsites."⁠

The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900 is on view at the National Gallery of Art through October 31, 2022.

Robert Smithson, Enantiomorphic Chambers (1965)
Installation view: The Double, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 2022
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, photograph by Robert Shelley
Artwork © Holt/Smithson Foundation / Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York

Archived News

Holt and Smithson in the Press: October 2023

From the Ground Up: Women Artists of Land Art

by Tom Teicholz

Forbes, October 8, 2023

“Groundswell: Women of Land Art is a milestone exhibition that just opened at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas, and that reassesses and reasserts the importance of a coterie of women in the art historical narrative of works that have been labelled as conceptual, environmental, sculptural, and even as performance.”

2023 Research Fellowship Presentations

Please join us as our 2023 Holt/Smithson Foundation Research Fellows share their research projects, findings, and ideas in progress. Each Fellow will present an online webinar for 30 minutes with a question and answer session to follow. Webinars are free and open to all. Please register in advance through the links below.

You can find more about each fellow's project and past fellows on our Research Fellowship page. 

Chapter Five of Tuesday Texts

We are happy to announce that throughout October we will be publishing a fifth chapter of our Tuesday Text Series as part of our ongoing Scholarly Text Program, which invites thinkers to focus on a single artwork by Holt and/or Smithson.

Every Tuesday we will publish a text to our website that includes images selected by the author, a short bibliography, citation reference, and endnotes pointing to the author’s references.