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Robin Crocker

Comme une Vieille Orange (Charles Baudelaire), 2019, Mixed media on paper, Courtesy of the Artist.

Visit Robin Crocker’s website
Instagram: @roarattheocean
Visit Atelier Newport’s website
Instagram: @ateliernewportri

Hear from the Artist



Hi. I’m Robin Crocker and I’m an artist working in Bristol, RI. The work I’m exhibiting at  the Newport Art Museum Bi-ennial is titled Comme une Vielle Orange (for Charles  Baudelaire).  

The text on the piece is taken from a stanza extracted from the poem, Au Lecteur,  (To the Reader) that serves as a forward to Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil)  a collection of poems written by Charles Baudelaire.  

The poem, translated to English, reads:  

Like a miserable wretch who with kisses and bites
Tortures the breast of an old prostitute
We take our passing clandestine pleasures
And squeeze them very hard like a dried up orange
“comme une vielle orange”  

The poem, itself, is an indictment of complacency, twisted desire, evil thoughts, greed  and self-loathing. Stenciled over the surface like a scrim, or a veil, the poem is  embedded in the piece – it is THERE, yet undecipherable. It does not need to be read.  

The rusted, corroded circle in this piece clearly represents the dried-up orange and all  that it implies, BUT I did not set out deliberately to craft that specific idea. In my art  making process I often feel I am acting as a conduit, putting materials in play, (metals,  chemicals, plastics…) summoning ideas, texts, experiences, that through their collision  evolve into something more meaningful than I could contrive… something, when  successful, is transcendent from me.  

Nature and Time create patina. For example, they act on a fresh piece of fruit, in this  case, an orange – drying, desiccating, rotting and corrupting – a metaphor for the  mortal experience of flesh. My use of rusting steel mirrors this aging process. We are all  destined to experience our youth drifting away from us, which no amount of desperate  grasping can halt. Our skin betrays this most of all.  

My dark, charred piece hangs like a flayed, translucent skin; the remnant of some past  violence. An orb glows – molten hot – from its center, and text, like a delicate cage,  strives to contain the threat, offering some unfathomable wisdom.