Phaeton and Thomas:
The New Deutsche Guggenheim
Edition to the Robert Mapplethorpe Exhibition
Edition No. 28 - Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition
Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition, the
Deutsche Guggenheim is currently examining the art historical dialogue
between Robert Mapplethorpe's
work and the prints of Dutch and Flemish Mannerism. This remarkable
juxtaposition of Mapplethorpe's oeuvre with etchings and woodcuts by
masters such as
Hendrick Goltzius, Jan Hermensz. Muller,
Jacob Matham, and
Jan Saenredam demonstrates the fascination that
Mannerist poses and forms held for one of the most important photographers
of the 20th century.
The Deutsche Guggenheim edition on the
exhibition, titled Phaeton and Thomas, 2004, shows the mythological
figure of Phaeton, son
of Helios, who dared drive his father's sun chariot across the sky and was
finally felled by Zeus, who thus prevented the world from going up in
Hendrick Goltzius' etching reflects an evaluation of the
fine arts that was new to the time. In 1595, the Habsburg Emperor
Rudolph II finally elevated painting to the level of a fine art,
liberating it from its traditional guild context. Goltzius' works reflect
this appreciation in value, which bears a direct connection to Mannerism's
free interplay of forms.
The work of the experimental Dutch master
forms a pendant to Robert Mapplethorpe's photograph Thomas from
1987, in which the artist's passion for the human body experiences one of
its most classical expressions. As Goltzius did in his etching after
Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, he chose the classical form of the tondo.
Entirely in keeping with the exhibition's unusual theme, a new technique was
implemented for Edition No. 28: the
Diavography process makes it possible to unite a nearly screenless print
with the quality of traditional handicraft. Each image is individually
applied to paper and subsequently reworked.
The Diavography on
hand-made Hahnemühle rag paper (55 x 88 cm) has been produced in a limited
edition of 100 copies and costs 240 Euros. M.M.