Online Talk: Ecstasy and Torment: The Sculptures of Camille Claudel [] Bea Aaronson

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Event Category: Presentations/Discussions


    By Béa Aaronson PHD

    3pm central time

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    “There is always this feeling of absence

    which torments me”

    Camille Claudel

    This presentation will be somewhat different from all the others I have given for the past 13 years. I shall begin with a theatrical interpretation of her life and work, so you may share the depth of her passion and despair. I wrote a monologue to honor her, entitled

    I CAMILLE, based on the letters she wrote from the asylum where she was incarcerated. Then, I shall proceed to my usual power-point journey.

    Camille Claudel had two passions in her life: sculpture and Auguste Rodin, both proved deadly. I invite you to meet this extraordinary woman, and I do not mince my words. The story of Camille Claudel is the story of a woman born ahead of her time, a female genius for whom the world was not ready, a woman who attained heights of artistic ecstasy and endured acute personal and mental agony. An emblematic figure of Feminism, she has remained unknown for such a long time, unrecognized, forgotten and even worse, if/when remembered -and only as the muse, model and lover of Rodin- she remained unacknowledged by art historians. It is only in the 1980s that she has been “re-discovered” and rehabilitated. Movies, television documentaries have been made about her, books written, and all of her letters have been published. She is the only female sculptor who was eventually to find a place in the Musée d’Orsay.

    I will of course reveal to you the story of her rebellious and bohemian life. A supporting father, a hating mother, a shadow of a sister, a shameful right wing brother…

    She was institutionalized in 1913 by her mother and brother in a psychiatric asylum where she will die of hunger at the age of 79, after 30 horrible years of incarceration. Camille Claudel has become the personification of the cursed artist, torn apart between the existential necessity of artistic creation and the dream of shared love.

    All she wanted in life was to sculpt, to love and be loved. Camille Claudel always looked for the most challenging and demanding composition. Rather than polished academic poses, she chose to focus on raw emotion and movement.  Sketching in clay from live male models, she created a scandal, one reason why she was interned. She exalted and furrowed human suffering into the very flesh of earth. Her fearless creative energy, going the distance in her uncompromising depiction of the human condition, from the innocence of youth to the decrepitude of old age, through the bliss of love to the horrors of separation, will not fail to command your awe.

    trailer movie Observar Las Aves

    director Andrea Martinez Crowther

    Protagonist Béa Aaronson

    text and collages published in the International Philosophical platform RHUTHMOS funded and directed by Pascal Michon

    Pasiones Profundas Humans on my phone

    by Gregor Collins (The Accidental Caregiver)

    Amigos The Life Dance

    Collages by Béa Aaronson

    Music written and performed by Chico Sanchez and Jorge Gonzalez

    (ars poetica dysraphic poetry)



    (Impressionism lecture excerpts)


    (The Thing is….Ode to Baudelaire)


    (Hanka and the Magic Red Umbrella live

    International Storytelling Festival of San Miguel)

    video about yours truly, life and art

    cages, keys, trees, scarves, gloves and books…among other things….




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