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Designs architecture. Writer and blogger. Also a freelance architecture and fashion photographer.

 

 

Unidentified


L'Inconnue de la Seine - the unknown woman of the Seine - is a haunting image. The story goes that a lady drowned in the Seine River in Paris and the serenity in the face compelled someone to cast it in plaster. It is assumed she committed suicide. Why is her smile so peaceful?

Suicide has always featured lengthily in various discussions - pro-life, pro-choice, upholding honour, tragedy, mental health. In some cultures, it is a shunned subject that one does not utter. In psychology, practitioners are trained explicitly to use the word suicide because it is so hard to say to people who are contemplating it. However, this plaster cast has been replicated many times, reportedly becoming a common fixture in artists homes.

The contradiction of this work surprises and inspires. It sees, yet its eyes are closed. It smiles, yet it is a plaster cast of a dead woman's face. Is it because this form is so familiar to the face of humanity, that it affects us so deeply?

For more on this plaster cast visit the Wikipedia page.

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