Live Model, Plaster Cape, Gorilla Suit and Two Bananas
Photographic Image a hand colored sepia tone
Private Collection, Athens, Georgia
This art historical satire is composed of two images. On the left we have Rodin’s Monument to Balzac, 1897 as photographed by Edward Steichen, at Meudon, 1906. On the right is Ringsby’s deconstructionist satire of Rodin. In the original sculpture Rodin portrayed legendary French novelist and lover, Honre de Belzac caught in the throes of male genius. The writer is pictured in his standard apparel, a dressing gown. His immense head of hair dramatically falls back. Curiously, there is a large bulge at waist level with his concealed hands holding it back. Ringsby exposes this “Balzac” to find the hidden source of power Balzac seems to hold under his robe. Balzac Exposed, 1991 satirically exposes great male power to be nothing more than, literally, banana power and a gorilla suit. It is but a theatrical farce.