The Hand of God
Auguste Rodin in conversation with
OPENING: Friday, May 2, 2014 – 6 to 9 p.m.
EXHIBITION RUN: May 2 to July 12, 2014
LOCATION:Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet,Berlin
THE HAND OF GOD
PLEASE VISIT THE ONLINE CATALOGUE HERE
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 language.
The 9th exhibition at Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet, “The Hand of God,” focuses on the artistic treatment of the hand, whose complexity has challenged artists from the earliest tracings of human hands at the Caves of 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 Auguste Rodin, who characteristically pushed against the physical limits of its anatomy to obtain maximum emotional impact.
Generally considered the father of modern sculpture, Rodin worked from life to create
intensely eloquent sculptures. In addition to complete figures, he also modeled fragments
and soon discovered that a part could be as meaningful as a whole and began to present
the fragments as fully resolved works.
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 portray “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.”
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.