by Jen Graves
on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum, London
That's a better image of the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) figure I posted about yesterday, in the Gauguin & Polynesia show at SAM. You can see more clearly here from the extreme curvature of his spine that he was meant to be held, not to stand. (He is incapable of standing alone; I don't know what kind of photo-voodoo here makes him look like he's doing it.) You can't quite get the intensity of his stare in this picture. There's no single image that's capable of capturing his power, really.
Gauguin & Polynesia was in Copenhagen first and will not be seen anywhere else after this. It's already proving to be a crowd magnet at SAM, but it's much more than that. Rather, it contributes to the historical processing of not just one lone guy named Gauguin but the entire colonial-modernist adventure. By the time you come to the end of the show, my guess is you'll no longer think of it as "a Gauguin show."