Girl on Pony


Girl on Pony, 2015 Aluminium
Pinault Collection

213 × 152 × 9 cm

Girl on Pony features a young girl—in this case, the artist’s goddaughter—riding her pony, which remains out of frame for the most part. While the image seems to take place in the contemporary world—as evidenced by the rider’s clothing and accessories—the form taken by the figure takes us back to a much earlier time: the strict profile of the figure and the bas-relief technique recall Egyptian tombs, temple friezes, and the sides of Greek sarcophagi. This temporal shift is accentuated by the iridescence of the machined aluminium.

The familiar image of a young girl indulging in her hobby then takes on a sacred significance. Firmly anchored in the saddle, her face wearing a curious smile full of mischief and confidence, the character takes on a singular dimension. The relative sup-pression of the horse and the girl’s features contrasts with the care taken with the details of the harness and clothing. As is often the case with Charles Ray, the difference in treatment between the different surfaces heightens the viewer’s perceptive engagement, who then understands that the work is composed of different spatial values, even though the image is essentially two-dimensional.

Like The New Beetle, Girl on Pony, is evocative of childhood, education, and gender stereotypes.