Jerome Witkin, Pensione Ichino, 1997

Look at what is going on in this triptych; all three scenes take place in the same spot of the artist’s studio. The first panel has a still life setup, complete with plaster cast, orange plastic sheeting, and a woman’s black lace glove. In the second panel we find the plaster cast is gone and replaced with an actual nude stripping off clothes next to a bed. A man’s presence is hinted at through his clothing draped over some furniture. In the third panel we see the man himself, sitting on the bed, trying on the glove from the first panel.
Witkin explains that this work was inspired by a brief love affair he had with a French photography student while he was studying in Florence at age 20. He remembers how the intense high of the relationship turned into misery immediately afterward. In 1986 Witkin wrote: “Love and its folly; its non-being hurts me. Yet this is what I want to paint about. The wanting of love, the giving of it. Love as a healer. Without it one dries up.”

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