Auguste Rodin in conversation with
Larry Clark Tristram Hillier Maha Malluh Nelson Mandela Henri Matisse Akim Monet
Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet GmbH Potsdamer Strasse 81b - 10785 Berlin - Germany T. +49-30-25 46 09 44 www.sidebysidegallery.com
The present exhibition features depictions of hands in multiple media: photography, installation, and works on paper, in conversation with four bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin. Spanning the 19th to the 21st Century, South Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, and Europe to the United States, the artists come from very different cultural backgrounds and periods.
One doesn’t really know where to start when talking about the hand - the word itself evokes a myriad of associations, from anatomy to art, from science to poetry, from one’s own body to gestural expression as body in conversation with language. The 9th exhibition at Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet, “The Hand of God,”
Larry Clark Hillier Maha Malluh focuses on the artisticTristram treatment of the hand, whose complexity has challenged artists from the earliest tracings of human hands at the Caves of Nelson Mandela Henri Matisse Akim Monet Lascaux during the Paleolithic Era.
The successful depiction of the hand is one of the achievements that mark the greatest among artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Hendrik Goltzius in the Renaissance, and Auguste Rodin in modern times. The importance of mastering the expressive potential of the hand was well understood by Rodin, who characteristically pushed against the physical limits of its anatomy to obtain maximum emotional impact.
Generally considered the father of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin worked from life to create intensely eloquent sculptures. In addition to complete figures, he also modeled fragments, likely inspired by the ancient marble torsos he studied and personally collected. With his keen observation Rodin realized that a part could be as meaningful as a whole and began to present the fragments as fully resolved works. While Rodin made many torsos, he modeled far more hands, capturing the essence of the individual in this small body fragment. In the current exhibition, we are delighted to present four sculptures of hands by Rodin, each of which is different from the others, one of which is the smallest hand he sculpted, and one the largest. In conversation with Rodin, we are presenting an expressive drawing by Henri Matisse, a ‘portrait’ of sorts, of Lydia Delectorskaya, the artist’s faithful companion, model, and muse for the last 21 years of his life. In this drawing, we see strength, not only of body, specifically her hands, but also of character, as evidenced by her assertive stance. Evoking the prehistoric cave drawings of hands, two lithographs by Nelson Mandela, one an impression of his own palm in which the silhouette of Africa mysteriously appears, and the other a constellation of children’s hands surrounding his own, transport us back to the innocence of childhood in their direct manifestation of a child’s first ‘self-portrait.’ The hand has often been used in art to represent the instrument for the dispensation of grace—think of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel. Addressing the religious connotations of the hand, we present the suite of masterful drawings by Tristram Hillier, which por-
tray “The Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Extreme Unction.” Moving from the sublime to the mundane, Larry Clark’s group of three photographs, although depicting prosaic postures, evoke poetry through their chiaroscuro composition, culminating with “Untitled (Bleeding Hand).” Where Rodin celebrates the tangible hand, the photographs and sculpture installation of Saudi Arabian female artist, Maha Malluh, explore the idea of the hidden hand. The photograms from her acclaimed “Tradition & Modernity Series” depict X-rayed gloves, where even as ornamentation is revealed, the hand remains unseen. Similarly her lyrical “Sky Clouds” installation of more than 100 hands belies a yearning for escape and the desire for individuality, as seen through the ornate cuffs which adorn uniform black gloves. Rodin, who through his sculptor’s eye, transformed a human hand into a vessel of expression, thereby recasting anatomy into emotion, was eager to discover how his work could metamorphose through another art form. Thus he often invited photographers into his studio, the most famous of whom was Edward Steichen. Following in this tradition, Akim Monet presented a spontaneous series of photographs to the Musée Rodin, which resulted in an invitation to produce a body of work at the museum. The two pigment prints in the present exhibition are part of the initial series. By pure chance, one of his photographs is actually a detail of one of the bronzes exhibited here in “The Hand of God.” Akim Monet May 2, 2014
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Peter 5:6
Auguste RODIN (1840-1917) STUDY FOR THE SECRET Conceived in 1910, cast in 1957 by the Georges Rudier foundry Signed, and inscribed ‘A. Rodin, © Musée Rodin, 57’ Bronze with a rich brown black, variegated patina of medium reddish brown and green with darker brown/black undertones 12,1 x 5,7 x 4,5 cm This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l’oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay.
The present sculpture is an example of Rodin’s use of multiples of the same figure to create a new work, as seen in the “Three Shades” atop the “Gates of Hell”. One might not at first notice that this is not a pair of hands but rather two of the same hand creating a beautiful interplay, with the same fingers never facing each other.
Maha MALLUH SKY CLOUDS 2009 100 hands in black polyester gloves with decorative cuffs filled with desert sand Each hand: 50 x 15 cm Overall installation: approx. 50 x 150 cm
Henri MATISSE (1869-1954) STUDY OF HANDS, or “THE HANDS OF LYDIA” 1935 Pencil on paper Image size: 27 x 20 cm Frame size: 58 x 50 cm This work is registered in the Henri Matisse Archives under the number A185 and is inscribed on the reverse with a certificate by Wanda de Guébriant.
In the present drawing, a ‘portrait’ of sorts of Lydia Nikolaevna Delectorskaya, we see strength, not only of body, specifically her hands, but also of character, as evidenced by her assertive stance.
“When Lydia comes I am cured, when Lydia goes, I become languid”. Lydia Nikolaevna Delectorskaya, assistant, faithful companion, model and muse of Henri Matisse from 1932 to the Master’s death in 1954, is represented on the sheet reproduced on the previous page, drawn in 1935, therefore in the beginning of their tight relationship. The importance of this essential person in the entourage of Matisse was superbly recalled in 2010 in the exhibition: «Lydia D., Muse and Model of Matisse» at the Musée Matisse of Cateau-Cambrésis.
Nelson MANDELA (1918â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2013) IMPRESSIONS OF AFRICA (in color) 2002 Signed lithograph Image size: 50 x 35 cm Paper size: 65,5 x 50 cm Frame size: 80 x 60 cm Ed. 500
Auguste RODIN (1840-1917) THE HAND OF GOD c.1895 Cast circa 1935 – sand cast process Bronze with a warm brown patina with green and reddish undertones 13,4 x 11 x 9,5 cm Signed ‘A. Rodin’ Inscribed ‘A Rudier Fondeur, Paris’ This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l’oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay.
The Hand of God is one of Rodin’s masterpieces and arose, as so often in his work, from a combination of forms that had been created separately. The hand is based on the raised right hand of Pierre de Wissant, the Burgher of Calais who shields his face behind its extended fingers. The complete group is generally dated to 1895 and was probably exhibited in 1896 under the title “Main avec groupe” at the Munich Secession Exhibition. In its original dimension in plaster it was 37cm high (an example is in the Maryhill Museum, Washington) and the Musée Rodin later cast a few bronzes in this size. Rodin himself, however, had it scaled up and carved into a marble version of about double dimensions of which four examples are known. From the first of these marbles a cast was taken in plaster and used as a foundry model to make a few bronzes (only two early examples are recorded in the recent literature). The same plaster was then scaled down before 1904 for the bronze edition to which the present example belongs. In the small size, it is estimated that at least two or three examples were cast in Rodin’s lifetime and that the Alexis Rudier foundry had produced at least a further four by 1945.
Akim MONET (b. 1968) LA TENDRESSE 2009 Archival pigment print on 100% cotton acid-free watercolor paper Image size: 82 x 57 cm Paper size: 100 x 70 cm Ed. 7 + 2 AP
The present image is a detail of the marble version of the “Hand of God” in the collection of the musée Rodin, Paris. Several years after the photograph was taken, it is here reunited by coincidence with a bronze version of the “Hand of God” that stems from the same marble.
musée Rodin, Paris
COPYRIGHT PHOTO © 2009 AKIM MONET
Tristram HILLIER (1905 â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1983) THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS: Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Extreme Unction 1956-1957 A suite of seven drawings in pencil or pencil and colored pencil on paper Image sizes: 17,9 x 15,8 cm
Born in China, Tristram Hillier was trained at the Slade School of Art in London 1926 and at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris, and also spent some time in the studio of André Lhote. In Paris he met and befriended such artists as Georges Braque, André Masson and Max Ernst, and was drawn into the milieu of the Surrealists. He was active mainly as a landscape and still life painter, and also painted the occasional religious subject, all in a very precise manner with a high degree of finish. His paintings were preceded by detailed preparatory pencil drawings, executed with a confidence and exactitude that are characteristic of all of his drawings. He had his first one-man exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery in 1931, and in 1933 joined Paul Nash’s Unit One group, associating himself with the English Surrealists. Hillier lived in the South of France until the outbreak of the Second World War, after which he settled in Somerset, where he painted agricultural subjects with the same exactitude as his landscapes and still life subjects. Hillier exhibited widely in England and elsewhere, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1957. Tristram Hillier’s return to the Catholic faith of his childhood ensured that he remained deeply religious in his mature years. As he recalled in his autobiography, ‘One morning in a tawdry little chapel of a country town, I suddenly became aware with absolute certainty that the Miracle of the Mass
which I was attending was not only true but was in fact no more remarkable than the existence of the little church itself or my own presence there…I had neither reasoned nor had I consciously prayed, but I knew at that moment and for some time afterwards a serenity of mind and a depth of happiness that I had never before imagined.’1 Hillier’s religious convictions and deep spirituality was at times vividly expressed in his work. This series of drawings representing the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith were drawn between 1956 and 1957, and were used to illustrate a book entitled The Mass and Redemption in Pictures, published in 1958. As was noted of these drawings when they were exhibited in the Hillier exhibition of 1983-1984, ‘This unusual and unique sequence of seven drawings representing the position of hands in the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church were drawn before the Second Vatican Council made changes in the manner of the administering of the Sacrament. They were produced for an edition of the Bible published by his friend George Rainbird. Papal approval was sought and gained for this in the course of a journey to Rome with both George Rainbird and his friend and advisor Fr Philip Caraman, S.J.’2 In her review of the exhibition, Frances Spalding singled out these seven drawings, ‘which mesmerize with their combination of accuracy and sensitivity.’3
Jenny Pery, in her recent monograph on Hillier, describes the origins of this series of drawings in more detail: ‘Hillier’s delicate drawings, full of spirituality, made to illustrate the Seven Sacraments (1956-57) are all of hands engaged in the sacramental rites. The hand representing Baptism holds a jug, Confirmation is portrayed as an outstretched hand, Penance is a single upright hand, Eucharist a pair of hands holding a chalice, Extreme Unction a downward-pointing hand surrounded by an eye, ear, nose and mouth, Ordination a pair of hands knotted together and Marriage links two hands with a ring. Some of these were studies of the hands of Christopher Leyne, then art master at Downside, who in 1956 had suggested that his promising pupil Rob Stuart should take private lessons from Hillier. As Leyne wrote to Stuart: ‘Tristram, who has been up in the Attic quite a lot doing some drawings of my hands to help illustrate the Seven Sacraments, is very keen on the student having only one master.’ Hillier’s only pupil, Stuart was initially sent from Downside for weekly tutorials in Hillier’s studio, later confessing that these lessons terrified him. He did not become a ‘follower’, eventually abandoning painting in favour of picture dealing while remaining a friend and confidant. The exalted, prayerful quality of the Seven Sacraments drawings can hardly be missed. Perhaps they were an impossible act for a student to follow.’4 Hillier returned to a similar subject of hands in the painting Chateau Lafitte Tasting of 19635. 1. Tristram Hillier, Leda and the Goose: An Autobiography, London, 1954, p.181. 2. Bradford, Cartwright Hall, op.cit., p.54, under no.99. 3. Spalding, op.cit., p.510. 4. Pery, op.cit., p.125. 5. Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s South Kensington, 17 November 1988, lot 271; Pery, op.cit., p.107, fig.87. The painting measures 457 x 355 mm
Maha MALLUH HAND IN HAND I from the “Tradition & Modernity Series” 2012 Chromogenic print Laminated with D-bond backing Hanging brackets on the back 156 x 122 cm Ed. 3 + 1 AP
Auguste RODIN (1840-1917) HAND no. 20, small model Conceived between 1890-1908, cast in 1966 Bronze with black and green patina – sand cast process Height 5,4 cm Inscribed «A. Rodin» on the inside of the wrist and With the foundry mark «G. Rudier / Fond. Paris» on the outside of the wrist This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l’oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay.
“There are, among Rodin’s works, small and independent hands that, without belonging to a body, are alive.” Rainer Maria Rilke
Larry CLARK (b. 1943) UNTITLED (Thinking) 1963/1981 Gelatin silver print Print size: 35,56 x 27,94 cm Larry CLARK (b. 1943) UNTITLED (Bleeding Hand) 1963/1981 Gelatin silver print Print size: 35,56 x 27,94 cm Larry CLARK (b. 1943) UNTITLED (Fingers) 1963/1981 Gelatin silver print Print size: 27,94 x 35,56 cm
Akim MONET (b. 1968) LE COUPLE 2009 Archival pigment print on 100% cotton acid-free watercolor paper Image size: 82 x 57 cm Paper size: 100 x 70 cm Ed. 7 + 2 AP
musée Rodin, Paris
COPYRIGHT PHOTO © 2009 AKIM MONET
Auguste RODIN (1840-1917) ONE OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS: EUSTACHE OF SAINT-PIERRE (LEFT HAND), final state Conceived in 1886, cast circa 1974 Bronze with light brown patina – lost wax process 27,8 x 15 x 13,8 cm Inscribed «Rodin» inside the wrist near the cut Stamped outside the wrist near the cut with foundry mark «CIRE / C. VALSUANI / PERDUE» This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l’oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay.
When Rodin composed a new figure, he often experimented by attaching hands made for earlier pieces, exploring the possibilities the new combinations might reveal. This working method encouraged Rodinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest in the fragment. It inspired his exploration of the notion that figurative sculpture did not depend on a whole figure to communicate meaning. By carefully modeling their musculature, proportion, texture, and balance, Rodin demonstrated that hands could convey profound emotion, from anger and despair to compassion and tenderness.1 The present sculpture is the largest among Rodin bronze hands. 1. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Hands of Rodin: A Tribute to B. Gerald Cantorâ&#x20AC;?, web. 17.4.2014
Maha MALLUH HAND IN HAND II from the “Tradition & Modernity Series” 2012 Chromogenic print Laminated with D-bond backing Hanging brackets on the back 156 x 122 cm Ed. 3 + 1 AP
Nelson MANDELA (1918â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2013) HAND OF AFRICA 2002 Signed lithograph Image size: 23,5 x 16 cm Paper size: 65,5 x 50 cm Frame size: 80 x 60 cm Ed. 1,000
CATALOGUE DESIGN Anne-Marie Visconti Claudio Fortugno Akim Monet 2014 ÂŠ Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet GmbH
akim monet SIDE BY SIDE GALLERY