After visiting the Van Gogh Museum and seeing the Rodin sculpture, ‘She who was Once the Helmet Makers Beautiful Aid’, I was inspired to explore the physical as well as the mental effects both in my ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ Studies and ‘Life on Roaccutane’ paintings. Exploring both, both better links to Outside/Inside and allows for deeper exploration into complete deterioration.
When I first saw this sculpture in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam I assumed it was just another sculpture depicting the perfect and desired human form. However it was only when I properly looked at it, that I noticed that the body of the woman was completely deteriorated with age, sagging and folding. Rodin’s sculpture fights the conventionality of beauty and perfection that most sculptures portray, creating a natural honesty in the aging process.This decay in the form with age linked well with my Nan as she has obviously physically deteriorated with age as well mentally. Looking at Rodin led to me exploring her hands and in my final drawings, allowed me to contextualise the wrinkles of her skin and liver spots.
The concept of honesty is a really important factor for me, especially in my ‘Life on Roaccutane’ paintings where although it was hard for me to show the darker side of my medication’s effect, it was vital. Although the title of the sculpture suggests otherwise, the way Rodin shows the imperfections of the woman I find quite beautiful as they individualise her and show the traces of her life. The imperfections allowed me to break the barrier and reflect my imperfections to the public instead of hiding them away behind make-up, which is a very rare thing for me to do.