Shutter (C)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

In the German art scene of the 1980s, dominated by male painters, Cologne-based artist Rosemarie Trockel emerged as an oppositional figure. As she did then, she continues to address the body, sexuality, and violence. In Shutter (c), ragged edges and blood-red glaze allude to the object used to cast the piece: a slab of raw meat. The linear indentations, suggestive of a shutter, also evoke ribs and a spine. The work recalls traditional painting subjects, such as Dutch genre scenes of butchers’ stalls, while the shutter structure’s similarity to bones suggests the history of casting sculpture from the human body. Like her best-known work — large-scale machine-knitted panels — this sculpture combines high art traditions with craft materials. Trockel reinterprets the neatly ordered grid of modernist painting, importing its refined form into ceramics, usually a medium of craft. The grid appears as a futile attempt to tame the unrelenting materiality of the sculpture, rooted in bodily forms and tinged with the suggestion of violence.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Rosemarie Trockel, German (Schwerte, Germany born 1952)
Shutter (c)
Work Type
Level 1, Room 1120, Modern and Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art: Body/Politic
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Physical Descriptions
Stoneware with red glaze
sight: 80.1 x 61.7 x 4.9 cm
Inscriptions and Marks
  • (not assigned): verso, lower right: RT1713/A
Barbara Gladstone Gallery, representing the artist, 2006.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Wilhelm Winterstein
© Rosemarie Trockel / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Ceramic made from a mould formed from rare meat. Intense, unevenly applied, red glaze maintains the strong allusion to blood and flesh. The organic forms are structured by the rectilinear "grid" of a central spine and "ribs", the slats and wooden structure of the eponymous "Shutter."

Publication History

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7 (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 30, ill.

Exhibition History

Re-View: S118 European & American Art since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 04/09/2011

Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 08/10/2017

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

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