©IOC Jean-Jacques Strahm
This huge bronze sculpture (its base measures 213 x 105 x 6cm) is the work of Fernando Botero. Born in Medellin (Colombia) in 1932, over the years Botero has developed his own particular style, in both painting and sculpture. He likes to play with shapes to produce figures with voluptuous curves. In his sculptures, he works with the material to create soft, round surfaces, with the aim of highlighting the sensuality of his work. And this sculpture is no exception.
Baptised Reclining figure by Botero, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was then IOC President, gave it a new name when the IOC acquired it: Jeune fille à la balle. This was, of course, in agreement with the artist, since the new name corresponds so well to the subject of the sculpture: a woman resting on her elbow and holding a ball in her right hand. This representation of femininity typical of Botero, who offers an alternative to our contemporary vision of the female body, is therefore perfectly suited to its home in the Park of The Olympic Museum in Lausanne
In Botero’s sculptures, the faces and eyes are not supposed to express any emotions. The artist’s aim is to achieve impersonality. Botero has explained this very well himself: “I never give my human figures faces with particular traits. I don’t want them to have a personality, but they should rather represent types that I create. My sculptures do not bear any social or other message. I don’t feel that art can change political situations. Nor is there any symbolic meaning to my sculptures. What I am interested in is their form – creating soft and rounded surfaces which highlight the sensuality of my work.” (Quotation taken from: AA. VV. Botero, hors-série “connaissance des Arts”, Paris: Société française de promotion artistique, 1992, p. 56)