Robert Mapplethorpe

Clothespinned Mouth


Not on display

Robert Mapplethorpe 1946–1989
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Support: 340 × 341 mm
frame: 612 × 586 × 38 mm
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
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

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.

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