A Burgher of Calais / The Feet of Eustache de Saint Pierre, 2015

Hong Kong 2018
carlier gebauer
Bronze, Aluminium, Sneaker
17.0 x 45.0 x 50.0 (cm)
6.7 x 17.7 x 19.7 (inch)
Asta Gröting‘s concise, yet conceptually loaded sculptures activate immaterial elements of social relations—or the spaces between things—into a material form. Her most recent sculpture, Ein Bürger von Calais/ die Füße von Eustache de Saint Pierre (2015), references Auguste Rodin‘s iconic monument to the six city leaders who offered their lives for the city of Calais in the Hundreds Years‘ War. Rodin radically changed the language of monuments by insisting his figures be placed on a lower pedestal. In doing so, he hoped to create empathy and solidarity among the townspeople and the citizens the sculpture commemorated through intense physical proximity. The pair of feet Gröting‘s sculpture depicts—moulded from the Eustache de Saint Pierre‘s foot in Rodin‘s studio—proposes a similarly intimate approach to the language of monumentality. A pair of hip metallic sneakers, nestled within a pair of gold and silver feet simultaneously calls two notions to mind: „walking in another man‘s shoes“ and „having big shoes to fill“—vernacular expression of empathy and heroism, respectively. Gröting sparked her ongoing engagement with Rodin‘s Burghers of Calais in her 2013 sculptures Bodenplatte 1 and Bodenplatte 2. To create these works she moulded the base of Rodin‘s sculpture in his studio in Meudon, modeling and closing the points where the robes and feet touch the base. These sculptures thus become a monument to absence: marking loss, time passing, voids in political life, and foregone heroism.