THE HYSTERICAL MATERIAL
September 14, 2017- December 17, 2017
This is a show about feelings and emotion: how these twin registers are represented and produced in both the materiality of the body and in the objects we call art. The exhibition investigates these possibilities in the work of two leading artists of Western art history, Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) and Bruce Nauman (born 1941).
The body is something used and depicted in the work of both of these artists; however, they employ it in radically different ways. While Rodin was a master of conflating corporeal representation with the raw materials of traditional European sculpture, Nauman’s work in the exhibition deplores the body as a literal tool, asking questions of the material delineations between object and maker and by extension object and viewer.
This exhibition features nine sculptures and works on paper from the Smart Museum and other collections. It places works by Rodin and Nauman into unusual spatial relationships, calling attention to the artists’ mutual artistic concerns while also focusing a lens on how each sculptor conceives of the body as an emotional instrument, something not always understood by the rational mind.