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Of the Grenadier (2022)
bronze, patina black mat
circa 58 x 53 x 38 cm
3 versions + 2 AP
Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s bust of a grenadier is in bloom with ripe pomegranates. Dozens of pieces of fruit are bursting open from his neck, eyes, collarbone, and from between his shoulder blades. Though the sculpture is cast in dark bronze, the suggestion of the fruit’s bright red juice is tangible.
A grenadier is a solder specialized in throwing exploding grenades. Traditionally grenadiers were among the largest and strongest men, as they led the vanguard of the charge. Both ‘grenade’ and ‘grenadier’ come from the French, in which the words refer to the weapon and the soldier, but they also translate to pomegranate and pomegranate tree respectively.
The sculpture plays on double-entendre in French, but it also suggests a contradiction in the imagination of war: pomegranates symbolized fertility, abundance, and desire throughout the cultures of the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years.