Kiki Smith. Virgin Mary.
Beeswax, microcrystalline wax, cheese cloth and
wood on steel base. 1992
I really didn’t like many of Kiki Smith’s gruesome sculptures. While I understand that she creates these sculptures to elicit a particular reaction from the viewer and to make a certain point, they are not something I would want to view more than once. I chose this sculpture because the name of it caught me by surprise. Many artists create their own variation on Mary; a majority of these images are beautiful. Kiki Smith’s image of the Virgin Mary is much different, so much so that I did not associate the sculpture with Mary until reading the name. In Smith’s representation of Mary she is portrayed having no skin. At first this shocked me, but as I read about the sculpture I began to understand the reasoning behind the way she portrays Mary. Smith portrays Mary without any skin in order to make the point to the viewer that at one time, Mary was a real and physical human being; she was not as perfect as she is sometimes portrayed to be by other artists.