Teller on Mapplethorpe
The Allison Jacques Gallery
Orwell House, 16-18 Berners St, London W1T 3LN
November 18, 2016 – January 7, 2017
In honor of the 70th birthday of the iconic American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, UK-based, German-born photographer Juergen Teller will curate an exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s work at the Allison Jacques London gallery.
Considered one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Robert Mapplethorpe is currently the subject of major projects. Amongst them the exhibit The Perfect Medium which opened at the J.Paul Getty Museum and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from March 15–July 31, 2016. His work is currently being exhibited at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in their retrospective of the artist titled Focus: Perfection. In addition, he is the subject of an Emmy nominated HBO documentary named Look at the Pictures (2016).
Allison Jaques, a long time representative of Robert Maplethorpe, said:
“Provocative and subversive, making images which are the antithesis of conventional fashion photography, Juergen Teller was the only choice to curate this special exhibition of Robert’s work. There are obvious parallels between these two artists and I believe Juergen ‘s eye will bring a new reading of Robert’s work.”
Juergen Teller is one of a few artists who, since Mapplethorpe, has been able to operate successfully both in the art world and the world of commercial fashion photography. For the exhibit, Teller has has enlarged two images, each over 4 meters in scale, which, pasted directly onto the gallery’s walls will provide a backdrop to the entire show. One wall will show Mapplethorpe’s first partner David Croland wearing a gag and the other features the model Marty Gibson, from Mapplethorpe’s later work, posing nude on a beach.
Robert Teller’s selection includes 58 images within Mapplethorpe’s archive that have rarely been exhibited before and span Mapplethorpe’s entire career. They range from the unique Polaroids of the early 1970s to his iconic medium of silver gelatin photographs from the mid-70s through to the late 80s. Amongst the main themes of the photographs are human subjects such as Lisa Lyion, Patti Smith, David Croland, Sam Wagstaff as well as less known celebrities like Gisele Freud and Eva Amurri. In addition, still-life portraits include pictures with unusual subjects such as a banana with keys, antique silverware, a television set and various animals like bats, frogs, kittens and horses.
Sexually-explicit images also feature in the exhibition but by interrelating these to a more romantic view of Mapplethorpe’s work, Teller has brought out the essential mission of Mapplethorpe’s work: a life-long quest for perfection of form whatever the subject matter may be.