Dialogue Between Rodin and Mapplethorpe

In the exhibition, Mapplethorpe – Rodin the Museé Rodin brought together (in April 2014) the work of two artists – the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the sculptor Auguste Rodin. It presented 50 sculptures by Rodin and a collection of 102 photographs, revealing similarities in these two artists’ enduring themes and subjects. Mapplethorpe sought the perfect, sculptural form in his photography, whilst Rodin captured movement and accident in his work.

One of the curators, Judith Benhamou-Huet, commented:

‘This exhibition establishes an imaginary dialogue between Rodin and Mapplethorpe.

Mapplethorpe never made any reference to Auguste Rodin, but from 1979 – a period in which he uses a neo-classical vocabulary – his aim is obviously to create sculptures in photography. Through using the collection of the Rodin museum, myself and the other curators, Hélène Pinet and Hélène Marraud, found pieces where the photographer and the sculptor explore the same ideas.

They focus on detail, they use drapery to emphasize the drama of the shapes, and they place the models in special positions to emphasize the movement or sculptural aspect of their bodies.’


Lisa Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1982 / Torse fémenin assis sans tête dit du Victoria and Albert Museum (1910-14), Auguste Rodin


Javier, Robert Mapplethorpe, (date unknown)/ Buste de Hélène de Nostiz, Auguste Rodin, 1902


Orchid, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985/ Iris, messagère des dieux, Auguste Rodin, 1891-93


Feet, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1982/ Pied Gauche,  Auguste Rodin, date unknown


Lucinda Childs, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985/ Assemblage: deux mains gauches, Auguste Rodin, (date unknown)


Bill T. Jones, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985/ Génie funéraire, c. 1889


Michael Reed, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1987/ L´Homme qui marche, Auguste Rodin, c. 1899


Robert Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1983/ Tête de la Luxure,Auguste Rodin, 1907


Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1984/ Tête de la doleur, Auguste Rodin, 1901-02


Source: Apollo Magazine

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