Acquired from the above by David Teiger in 2003
In the present work however, Currin abbreviates his subject, focussing solely on the head and impossibly slender neck. The movement of the body is implied as his subject’s hair is flung out to the side, however the violence of the final composition is avoided. Indeed, there is something almost tender to the drawing, with the highly rendered contrasts where the light catches her cheeks, chin and forehead implying a moment of joyful abandon. This vacillation between the beautiful and the repellent typifies Currin’s practice. As Norman Bryson observed, “Currin’s technique involves a continuous swerve between attraction and repulsion, pleasure and guilt, joy and shame. The surface in his work is radically heterogeneous: some areas, even some strokes, move closer toward ideality; other areas, often adjacent, move away… The codes of ideality and the grotesque are jammed together; they become interchangeable and undecideable” (Norman Bryson, “Maudit: John Currin and Morphology”, in: Kara Vander Weg and Rose Dergan, Eds., John Currin, New York 2006, p. 30). Epitomising this juxtaposition and superbly demonstrating Currin’s virtuosic stylistic decadence, Study for Bent Woman is an exquisite example of the artist’s drawing, a pivotal part of the artist’s practice that he once described as “a flirtation with the real” (John Currin in: Brett Littman, “Drawing is a First Date”, Gagosian Quarterly, Fall 2017, online).
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