Karley Sullivan


This is a photograph of Rodin’s sculpture Iris, Messenger of the Gods, also called Autre voix, dit Iris (Another voice, called Iris), which resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a small sculpture, only 48.6 cm tall, and perfectly perched in a vulva-disclosing, zig-zagged shape. The lens of the camera-phone didn’t want to focus on the artwork behind the glass, and instead zeroed in on its own reflected stripes of radiant magenta, throwing everything else out of focus.  Iris, the Goddess, is the golden-winged personification of rainbows. As the daughter of Thaumus (a Sea God), and Electra (a Cloud Nymph), she spans the space between air and water.  In the stories, she sometimes carries a vase of water from the River Styx with which she can put to sleep those that perjure themselves. Depictions of Iris vary wildly, but I believe this is the only one wherein her head and arms have been amputated by the artist’s decision-making instead of by the ravages of time.  In art there is no snooze button or phenobarbital for bearing false witness.  Take it as you will.