Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mannequins for dummies

If you’re from NZ there’s a great big hole in the exhibition we saw today in Paris, Ronnie van Hout. A while back we published a list of artists names along with what they ‘own’. McCahon owns words, Albrecht owns hemispheres, that sort of thing. In that list van Hout owned models but given how his work has developed over the last five or so years now it would have to be mannequins. All that brings us to Silent Partners – Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish a remarkable exhibition which is now showing at the Musee Bourdelle. Essentially it was a history of the artist mannequin and their use from practical to creepy (we’re looking at you Hans Bellmer and you too Oskar Kokoschka). The exhibition kicks off with a composition ‘box’ staged with little mannequins used by Poussin and tracks the race to develop the most realistic mannequins for the huge creative industries of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. The wooden mannequin used by Walter Sickert is a standout. Once the show hits Freud and his marrying of mannequins, toys and automata with the uncanny, the Surrealists take over. An amazing (unglazed) series of paintings by Giorgio de Chirico, Dali’s there (of course) as well as Man Ray and (new to us) the astonishing Jose Maria Sert. It was one of those old school no-photography shows unfortunately, but you can see more incredible images from the show via Google Image.