Rini Hurkmans
objects sculptures installations
Pietà, A Reconsideration of the Gesture

Silent Gesture

Silent Gesture

white Carrara marble, textile, wood, iron
50 x 100 x 50 cm

During her working period as Artist in Residence at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), Hurkmans researched the restoration of Mary's left arm of Michelangelo’s Pietà (1499) in the St. Peter’s Basilica. In 1972, Laszlo Toth destroyed the left arm and, consequently, the gesture that reaches out to the public. Thanks to the recreation of the gesture, it is again an invitation for engagement with the theme of the Pietà. Paradoxically, the sculpture is placed behind a glass wall to be protected against another attack, which makes it impossible to experience the sculpture in its proximity.

To make the inviting gesture approachable again, Hurkmans selected a piece of white marble in Carrara’s quarry, of which experts remade Mary’s left arm. In the sculpting workshop Cave Michelangelo in Carrara, the arm was sculpted with the help of a life-size copy of the Pietà in the studio. The marble arm, Silent Gesture, is presented in new settings and invites one to question and reconsider the gesture.

Installation view of Silent Gesture with Frozen Gesture (archival cotton-based inkjet print, 108 x 60 cm), 2020.