Robert Mapplethorpe

Clothespinned Mouth

1978

Medium
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
Support: 340 x 341 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00201

Online caption

If it were not for the title, it would be difficult to work out what is going on in this photograph. The use of close-ups that defamiliarise us with the body, as well as the photographing of sado-masochistic fetishes and clothes had been part of the surrealist photographers’ practice. The collar around the figure’s neck and the leather cuffs just visible, allude to the S&M scene of the 1970s that Mapplethorpe was involved in. The clothes-pegs in this photograph are reminiscent of the Crown of Thorns. Mapplethorpe’s strict Catholic upbringing made itself felt in many of his works.