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Rodin | Response
FIELD family secrets

June 14–September 8, 2024

Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125)
Free Admission

What do an Egyptian mirror from 2000 BCE, a bronze statue conceived in France in the 1880s, and a 2024 bio-sculpture composed from lawn waste have in common? Is it possible to uncover relationships between a photograph of a limestone quarry commissioned by the French government in 1851, a ball of rubber harvested in the Congo Basin in 1890, and a lecture on knowledge by a Malian ethnographer broadcast on French TV in 1969?

Posing unexpected questions, Rodin | Response is the culmination of a pedagogical research project undertaken by Indian artist Supermrin. Informed by her own decolonial bioart practice FIELD, the exhibition develops both as a provocation and an artistic response to four canonical sculptures by Auguste Rodin on temporary loan to the Cincinnati Art Museum. This spring, Supermrin worked alongside her undergraduate students at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Art, mining art history, art theory, and the museum’s collection to weave narratives across time and space that probe the hybrid subjectivities within and beyond Rodin’s original propositions. Rodin | Response presents contemporary sculpture as inheritances—the “family secrets” embedded within the fragmented legacies of modernism and coloniality.  

Visiting artist and curator Supermrin (Mrinalini Aggarwal) works at the intersections of architecture, sculpture, and landscape. She is the founder of Streetlight, a critical spatial research laboratory for decolonizing public space. Supermrin teaches sculpture and interdisciplinary practice at the School of Art, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati. From 2020-22 she was a Visiting Artist and Scholar at the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Program at Pratt Institute, where she incubated material studies for her project FIELD. Her work has been recently featured in Lund Humphries “Towards Another Architecture: New Visions for the 21st Century” (2024) edited by Owen Hopkins, a critical rethinking of Le Corbusier’s legacy in the face of climate change. Supermrin has exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her latest exhibition, “Aliens” hosted at PS122 Gallery in NYC this June, explores colonial narratives through plant migration and bioart perspectives.

Exhibition co-curator Peter Jonathan Bell is Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Invited artist Laura Reeder creates walking drawings in snow, leaves, sand, and grasses. She calls the temporary earthworks "cultivators" because they develop new spaces and conversations about boundaries, power, and coexistence of humans with the earth. All of the cultivators invite others to walk in a continuous labyrinth of pathways and pay deeper attention to elements and conditions of a place. As an experienced educator, researcher, and organizer, Reeder helps artists, teachers, and communities to work more effectively together.

Artists Emily Chapin, Emma Hillis, Cameron Jones, Spencer Markham, Taft Marsh, Caroline McKenzie, Lou Shamblin, and Tucker Wood were participants in the Special 3D Studio course “Rodin | Response,” taught by Mrinalini Aggarwal at the School of Art, University of Cincinnati, Spring Semester 2023. Some of their work is included in the exhibition.

Members Opening

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 5–7 p.m.

Guest Lecture: The Art of Response

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 7–8 p.m.

Rodin | Response: FIELD Family Secrets is organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum in collaboration with Supermrin and the School of Art, University of Cincinnati, and with the participation of the Iris Cantor Collection.

Sponsored by the Harold C. Schott Foundation.