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Exhibition "Silent Partners: Artists and Mannequin from Function to Fetish" - Culture

"Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish” is the exhibition that the Fitzwilliam Museum dedicates to the strange passion for mannequins that emerged in some artistic and intellectual circles from 1800 onwards.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the mannequin went from being an eye-catching studio tool, like brushes and tempera paints, to a real fetish for the artist.

Through the works of Beato Bartolomeo, Thomas Gainsborough, David Wilkie, Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas, among others, the sometimes puzzling relationships artists had with their inanimate models are revealed. In some cases, in fact, such as for Oskar Kokoschka, the mannequin was painted and decorated, perfected until it took on the appearance of a human being and, in the case of the Austrian painter, of his former lover Alma Mahler.

From a simple model, the mannequin has seen its function evolve into something far more fetishist: from 1900, Surrealist Paris also became the epicenter of the production of increasingly defined and detailed puppets, also for the demands of a certain type of collecting, a bit macabre and perverse.

The artists of the period fascinated by these objects were Herbert List, Man Ray, André Masson and Salvador Dalì but certainly one cannot fail to mention the metaphysical paintings of De Chirico or the more contemporary sculptures of the Chapman brothers.

But how does the perfect mannequin look like? Paul Huot created it in 1816 and it must necessarily have two prerequisites: a "skeleton" or an internal construction that allows the construction to move with the flexibility of a human being, and an external finish that emulates muscles, flesh, skin and facial features.

The exhibition was held in 2014 and in addition to life-size mannequins and dolls, 180 works from collections around the world were exhibited.

Credits images: from web


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