Rodin : Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture
During his lifetime, Auguste Rodin's name became synonymous with modern sculpture. It also became linked with sex. 'Desire! What a formidable stimulant', he once remarked. Rodin came to emphasize the importance of desire and the sexual as the markers of his individual perspective, using them to fuel his increasingly daring treatments of the nude. Bodily passion became the primary means through which he sought to make sculpture evocative, expressive and universally appealing. Concurrently, Rodin staged his own acts of making through the manipulation of sculptural techniques, prompting viewers to imagine the scenes of the creation of his objects in his studio.
In the minds of many viewers, the dramatic and activated surfaces of his sculptures came to be seen as evidence of not just a sculptor's touch but a lover's touch as well. David Getsy examines these developments by focusing on two pivotal moments in Rodin's career: first, 1876, the year his work is catalyzed through an engagement with Michelangelo; and, second, 1900, the year of the one-person exhibition that catapulted him to international public notoriety.
This fascinating book makes a case for reconsidering the terms of Rodin's influence, arguing that the sculptor placed renewed emphasis on the materiality and objecthood of sculpture as a means of asserting his own desire's inseparability from his works. In his compelling analysis of this practice, Getsy offers a critical account of the origins of modern sculpture and how sex became a key term in Rodin's making of it.