Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Copy that

If you’ve been with OTN for the last year or so you’ll know we had a run on versions of The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault triggered by Auckland Art Gallery’s The Arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand by Louis J. Steele and Charles F. Goldie. If not, you can catch up with them here, here and here. So how could we resist the versions of the well known Géricault poses of anguish and despair in Los Angeles we saw at the Martin Kippenberger survey? Typically Kippenberger had put a couple of layers between him and the nineteenth century French painter. His paintings were based on drawings that were in turn based on photographs taken of Kippenberger posing as the raft survivors by his wife Elfie Semotan. As Kippenberger created his Medusa series he was only a year away from dying of cancer. The Medusa self portraits are generally agreed to reflect his own deterioration.
Images: Top, Elfie Semotan photographs of Martin Kippenberger in Medusa poses from the MoCA catalogue. Bottom, Elfie Semotan.