Bronze 8" x 9" x 5" 2012
Dominique St Cyr is an erotic sculptor, born in Shanghai, China, in 1957, shortly after the arrival of her parents, Nathan and Filomena Finkelstein following the invasion of their native country Hungary by the Russians in 1956. Her father Nathan, a banker and entrepreneur, established himself in Shanghai as a manufacturer and exporter of battery-powered sex toys. Finkelstein became involved at this time in the urban casino scene, leading to a life-long alcohol addiction and a habit of soliciting young prostitutes, eventually taking one Feng Shui as his long-term mistress. When, in 1966, Filomena discovered his continued infidelity and the apartment he provided for Feng, she sank into a severe depression and after several weeks confronted the couple in the act. Although she exited declaring she would divorce and ruin Stein, the same night she brutally committed suicide by unraveling a fly swatter and using the wire to slash her wrists and stab herself, puncturing her left lung which then collapsed. Although her official cause of death was listed by Shanghai Authorities as death by self-mutilation, the running joke among the expat European elite of Shanghai was that "Finklestein ended Filomena with suicide by insecticide."
After her mother's death, Dominique's father moved Feng into the house amid scandalous rumors, leaving her alone to focus on his thriving business. After some years Feng became pregnant, giving birth to Dominique's half-sister Naomi when Dominique was fifteen. Although she despised Feng and blamed her for her mother's death, Naomi quickly became a force for good in her life and was her eventual inspiration to pursue college; she was also the subject of many of her most important sculptures.
During her time caring for Naomi she began to notice strange attentions her father paid to the child, and his tendency to keep her up late, or take her out often. Feng, though violent and domineering with Dominique, was dependent on her father and would never have accused him outright of his intentions toward the child. Dominique did her best to protect Naomi, but this strained dynamic took a toll on their household, leading her to move out and pursue higher education. Her uncompromising protection of Naomi figured importantly in her most famous piece, "The Delicate Rose," sometimes referred to as "The Unplucked Flower."
Dominique eventually persuaded her father to allow her to study sculpture and ultimately matriculated Magna Summa Cumma from the Ecole di Beaux Artes in Bucharest with her masters degree in nude studies. During this time, although her father paid her tuition, his business experienced certain setbacks due to an upswing in importing operations between Eastern Europe and China. The rise in imports led to a heavier tax on goods and currency conversion which nearly decimated the family business and drove many importers to Beijing. Despite her determination not to be a prisoner of her dark past and her father's reprehensible behavior, Dominique's need to supplement her income led her to the Bucharest night scene as a dancer and exhibitionist, from which experience she gained inspiration for her most famous subjects.
She saw herself as one of many artists of the past who were drawn to the drama of urban night life and drew inspiration from Lautrec, Degas, Renoir, among others. They found the bedrock of human emotion among the denizens of brothel halls and theatre of every type; almost like an explorer of steaming and tangled jungles, Dominique threw herself into this strange new world and began to understand human spirit from the most generous to the most depraved. At the same time, still performing in videos, she was gaining a reputation as a talented and sought after actress.
It was from this early period in her career that she created the wonderful and provocative "Hanging Nudes" series where she interpreted in bronze a bizarre event she attended one evening in prague. According to eyewitness accounts, at Pupik bar 20 young girls were suspended from the ceiling by large metal hooks in their skin. It was a protest in support of Marlon Brando's refusal of the Oscar for the Godfather movie and to further promote awareness of US discrimination against American Indian.
In 1987 Dominique's half sister Naomi appeared in Cluj and confirmed her worst fears about her relationship with her father, now several years deceased. Finkelstein did not escape retribution, however. It was said that he was killed unexpectedly by a young prostitute who ignited a fire cracker inside of him during the New Year celebration in Shanghai. The girl escaped in the mayhem of the festivities, and his body lay undiscovered in a hotel room for three days following the incident.
His peers joked that he would have been pleased, as he "went out with a bang." Naomi, who endured the worst from both parents — abuse from her father and cruelty from her mother — maintained a surprisingly gentle and generous spirit. At times, however, she displayed certain quirks that hinted at her tragic history; according to several police reports she was found soliciting sex from strangers dressed in a nuns habit and carrying a bible and apparently during intercourse she would read aloud the psalms of her childhood. For a time, she became quite a popular figure in the underground clubs of the city center. Ultimately Dominique assumed responsibility for her until her early death in 1990, from what was diagnosed as the "vapors."
From 1990 to the present, Dominique has spent her time using her work to help female victims of abuse reclaim the architectural beauty of their bodies, maintaining that the shame and horror of the abuse should be released from their skin and contained only in their sculpture, which will then be destroyed in the casting process and remade in bronze, representing the lasting strength of the model.
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