Ensemble of dog sculpture and inkjet print inspired by a historic fashion design:
Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français (33e Cahier de Costumes Français, 26e Suite d’Habillemens à la mode en 1780. jj. 195)
Designer: Pierre-Thomas LeClerc (French, about 1740 – after 1799)
Engraver: Pélissier (French)
Publisher: Esnauts et Rapilly (French, 18th century) 1780 | Paris
On display through July 9, 2021 | Showroom Potsdamer Straße 93, 10785 Berlin | Tuesday-Saturday 13-19 h
A whip in one hand, a leash in the other, a young lady nonchalantly parades her pet puppy. But the animal is less a loyal companion than a fashionable accessory with an erotic subtext. Its function is to complete its lady’s appearance. Pompously puffed up just like its mistress in her lavish robe à la polonaise, its bustle protruding in the rear, and her ostentatious headdress, her little playmate follows docilely. And just as her shortened skirt – revolutionary for the time – only plays around her ankles, its soft, fluffy fur leaves its lower legs bare. And just as she makes no attempt to conceal her satin, bow tie pumps, it exposes its naked paws to view. The cluster of ostrich feathers on her bergère, meanwhile, has its counterpart in the pompon of its coiffure. The dog’s face, however, seems quite human – and moreover distinctly masculine. Might its features perhaps echo those of an admirer, who now endures his exhibition with equanimity? Both move forward, yet direct their gazes backward, as though ascertaining the reaction of their audience. After all, anyone who expends such efforts over his or her appearance can hardly be indifferent to its effect. It almost seems as though these exaggeratedly stylized Rococo lapdogs were dreamt up by their mistresses solely to serve Marta Klonowska as models for her sculptures. By giving her animal figures, fashioned from iridescent, glittering glass, that extra sparkle, Marta Klonowska has discovered the perfect visual metaphor for human vanity.