Between sculpture and photography

From April 12 to July 17, 2016

Responding to the singular place of photography in Auguste Rodin’s work, and following on from the Mapplethorpe Rodin exhibition in 2014, the Musée Rodin continues to explore the fruitful relationship between sculpture and photography.

Based on an idea by Michael Frizot, a photography historian, this exhibition is an invitation to look at eight artists from the second half of the 20th century who work directly with sculpture and photography. For all of them, John Chamberlain (1927-2011), Cy Twombly (1928-2011), Dieter Appelt (born 1935), Markus Raetz (born 1941), Mac Adams (born 1943), Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978), Richard Long (born 1945) and Giuseppe Penone (born 1947), sculpture and photography are interlinked and have a shared resonance.

The eight artists here belong to this generation, and in keeping with this approach, they maintain a close proximity between photography and sculpture to the point where at times it is difficult to distinguish where the borderlines lie. From Richard Long to Giuseppe Penone, from Dieter Appelt to Cy Twombly, the exhibition explores the various ways in which photography and sculpture combine and connect, sometimes through independent activities (Cy Twombly), sometimes interlinked from the moment of their creation (Richard Long), sometimes in reflections of a shared imagery: the tree growth, vision (Giuseppe Penone), - the primitive body (Dieter Appelt), – sometimes in formal similarity (John Chamberlain). Bound by the same paradoxes of the point of view and perception (Markus Raetz) or by a vague narrative logic (Mac Adams), or a double proof in relief or counter-relief of an irreversible intervention on abandoned buildings (Gordon Matta-Clark).

The exhibition thus demonstrates a considerable broadening of the formal and conceptual categories evoked by the terms “sculpture” and “photography” with surprising but always convincing artworks which work the human body, physical matter, light and landscape. In parallel with the reopening of the Musée Rodin, this exhibition offers another “opening” into modern forms of sculpture and photography, developed by eight artists who echo Rodin’s passions.


Michel Frizot, photography historian
Hélène Pinet, head of photography collections, Musée Rodin.