#PhotoCollection Mapplethorpe, “Phillip Prioleau On Pedestal”
Philip Prioleau poses naked on a base, frozen, like a sculpture. He is the first African-American lover of Mapplethorpe and he’s the one who suggests being represented on a pedestal.
The installation of the model bringing the knees back to the chin on the base is reminiscent of references to 19th century sculpture, dear to Robert Mapplethorpe, author of this series entitled Philip Prioleau on Pedestal. He will have the opportunity to represent his black model in front, in profile and on the back, so that we can see his sculpture for ourselves. This desire to reproduce from different angles also refers to the childish ethnographic photography that is supposed to reveal differences between human races. The curvature of his back also illustrates the dark hours of slavery in America, under which many Africans bent their backs.
Mapplethorpe’s approach therefore evokes a meaningful relationship that American society has with the black body and the worship it evokes in different ways.
“IF I HAD BORN ONE HUNDRED OR TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN A SCULPTOR, BUT PHOTOGRAPHY IS A VERY QUICK WAY TO SEE, TO MAKE A SCULPTURE. ”
The male nude is treated by Mapplethorpe according to the aesthetic codes of Greek-Roman classicism and its long homoerotic tradition transmitted by sculpture. Mapplethorpe is inspired by the ancient world for the poses of his models but also for his still lifes since he reproduces famous busts or directly sculptures like Hermes. The artist’s objective is to regain extreme beauty and for this purpose he needs to represent subjects whose divine plastic, a reflection of perfection and strength, can evoke the qualities of marble.
An exhibition referring to the Rodin Museum in 2015 clearly evoked this relationship by juxtaposing the work of Auguste Rodin with that of Robert Mapplethorpe. This image is also famous for having been included in the corpus of the famous Portfolio Z, which studies the body of black models in a sculptural way.
This year, Robert Mapplethorpe’s work is rich in current events and exhibitions, including the recent closing of the Museo Madre in Naples and the Implicit Tension exhibition at the renowned Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s work now has an important place in the art market and particularly in the photography market. These values are supported and his works are still as sought after.
by Gérôme Saint-Germain for 28 Vignon Street
Phillip Prioleau on pedestal, New York, 1979
Silver gelatin print.
Very good condition.
Size of the image: 35 X 35 cm
Edition of 3/10
Signed, dated and numbered in black ink under the image on the recto. Title, date, number and copyright stamp on the back. Built-in mounting on board.
Title, date, number and copyright stamp on the back. Built-in mounting on board.
MORE ARTICLES FOR YOU