Carlos Motta, ‘Hermaphrodite, Beloved Martina Series’, 2016, Mor Charpentier

From Beloved Martina Series
Beloved Martina is a series of ten small-scale sandstone 3D-printed sculptures modeled on Greco-Roman, 16thand 17thcentury statues of Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, whose body merged with that of the water nymph Salmacis into an androgynous form.Two of the sculptures are modeled on late 19thand early 20thcentury black and white photographsandone by French photographer Nadar. The sculptures are of the enduring historical fascination with the intersex figure and the ways in which intersexbodieshavebeen subject to the classifying gaze.

The first hermaphrodite human pictures were created in 1860, when French photographer Gaspard-Felix Tournachon, otherwise known as Nadar, took nine photographs of a young person with a male build and stature, but who might have identified as female. The photographs were possibly taken as a commission for Armand Trousseau, who was chair of the Paris municipal hospital, but this is uncertain although there is an undated letter from Trousseau to Nadar, in which the former requests help in the documentation of a subject with a "very strange malady" to be photographed "with as much truth and art as you can." These are considered the first hermaphrodite human pictures in the world, and were reserved only for medical uses. The name of thesubject was never released and the series was never shown during Nadar's lifetime

About Carlos Motta

Carlos Motta is known for using multiple mediums, often several in combination, to investigate social and cultural injustices—particularly surrounding marginalized communities. Motta, who considers his installations “social sculptures”, aims to look beyond individual identity issues to explore group or communal politics. His recent project We Who Feel Differently (2011)—a documentary database of issues in queer culture around the world—was presented as an online platform, a book, an installation, and a series of performances. This was the last part of a five-year project he called “The Democracy Cycle,” for which he gathered different meanings of the term “democracy.” Motta wants his works to have a common message: “I can see the world in a way that you can’t, and the way that I see it is actually really great so you should come on the ride with me.”

Colombian, b. 1978, based in New York, NY, United States