“Her strength is that she is capable of haunting.” ~ Auguste Rodin
By Jenn Reidel
The genesis of the idea was sparked at the Maryhill Museum of Art. I was inspired by Rodin's sculpture I saw there, and even more captivated by the photos of his entourage of artists, poets, and dancers. Who could be the “Unknown Photographer” attributed to some of the photos? I wondered what would it have been like to meet Rodin and his artist friends? What would happen if I had relationships with them? What wisdom would they share?
This exhibition follows the Unknown Photographer through her early work as a Victorian “spirit photographer,” as well as her work with Rodin in France. There are portraits of Rodin and his famous friends such as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. There are also intimate photos that Rodin took of the photographer during their time together. This famous sculptor is a catalyst for her transformation. Perhaps we can be transformed, too, by the beauty from the “Unknown.” The photos are accompanied byreal and imagined excerpts from letters and diaries, historical references, and poetry.
To tell this story I had the help of many Vashon artists and friends. Featured are sculptures by Michael Magrath and dances performed by Abby Enson, who portrays Rodin’s muse Loie Fuller and Arlette Moody as Isadora Duncan.