Wesley Duke Lee | Jean Harlow - A Zona: A Vida e a Morte
drawings from the collection Augusto Livio Malzoni
August 21 — October 27 2018
“Rummages through spaces, mirrors, and adornments (…), such as the delicate dress of Jean Harlow 24 the zone: death, 16 the zone: peace, or the luxurious plumes and pearls of Jean Harlow 31 the zone: death, 29 the zone: coincidence, or the veils of Jean Harlow 21 the zone: death, 10 the zone: the peace that turns her into a Sheherazade of loving talks (…).” *
Galeria Luisa Strina is pleased to announce the exhibition of Wesley Duke Lee’s 1967 series “Jean Harlow – A Zona: A Vida e a Morte” [Jean Harlow – The Zone: Life and Death], comprised of thirty drawings.
The artist used to develop many of his works in series, such as Cartografia Anímica [Soul Cartography], finished in 1980; O Triunfo de Maximiliano 1 [The Triumph of Maximilian I], finished in 1986; and Os Trabalhos de Eros [The Labors of Eros], finished in 1991. These series were accomplished and assembled as albums or books, to be later exhibited and sold separately, except for Jean Harlow – A Zona: A Vida e a Morte.
In 2005, on the occasion of the launch of the monograph on Wesley Duke Lee, Pinacoteca exhibited the Jean Harlow series together with the 1964 album A História da Moça que Atravessou o Espelho [The Story of the Woman Who Passed Through the Mirror].
Astonished by the trouvaille in Los Angeles of a magazine containing several pictures of Jean Harlow – Hollywood myth and sex symbol of the 1930s –, Wesley took notice of the actress’ double life, attending prostitution zones of San Diego undercover. This story of eroticism and death sensitizes Duke Lee, specially due to the paradox of being a prostitute of the Babylon counterposed by the image of goddess of love projected by her movies.
“He copies a series of photos of the star using dip line-drawing, placing scenes of her life in drawings, some of which are subtle images made with sepia, like ancient pictures that end up boiling down to faded contours of figures, while others overlap or highlight parts of her body in color. Harlow’s saga unfolds in fragments that occupy a small part of each of the thirty boards composing the series. To them, Wesley juxtaposes drawings of his own vision, a delicate and compassionate counterpoint to the mysteries of the feminine universe.” *
Upon request of the artist, the series was kept in its entirety; its separation would require the organization of an illustrated publication, to be released yet in 2018.
* Cacilda Teixeira da Costa. Wesley Duke Lee: um salmão na corrente taciturna. São Paulo: Alameda Edusp, 2005, pp. 120 -122.
Works from the Augusto Malzoni Collection.