Rodin’s “The Muse” has always had the power to draw me to it, fascinated by the contrast between her calm beauty and distorted and damaged body. I cannot contemplate a visit to the V&A without spending at least a few minutes in her company and have photographed and sketched her more than any other piece. I like that she evolved over time as Rodin re-worked the form removing her arms and leg and contorting her frame. Yet, she appears oblivious to the horrors and retains an inner strength.
Although I moved from a bronze sculpture to a textile piece I wanted to retain some of the characteristics of the original - the shiny surface, the decomposition retaining only part of the whole. I chose to work in 2-d to avoid a soft, stuffed appearance that may result from a 3-d textile piece. Found and hand painted fabric was layered to provide a working surface that could be cut away to mimic the original. The piece focuses on the breasts as these are intact in the original and emphasis the female. The cast lines are retained and the stitching is reminiscent of the texture on the bronze. The flash of magenta the reflected light from an exhibition anchoring her to the V&A.
The textile will be mounted on watercolour paper, held to a flattened cardboard box with bulldog clips retaining the imperfect, decomposed nature of the piece. I took phographs and used these as reference for drawings and paintings prior to working the textile. The course at CityLit provided an environment to explore the combination of ideas and techniques and my aim is to make a textile piece that balances both.
Inner Voice (The Muse)
V&A collection reference number(s):