A selection of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most renowned and sensational photographers of the 20th century, will be exhibited for the first time in Turkey at Galeri Nev, Istanbul beginning on January 14th, 2011.
Born in New York in 1946, the artist captured the 80s with his highly erotic and controversial photos. Political changes that began taking place in America towards the end of the 60s, economic problems, racism, AIDS and homosexuality deeply influenced the artist’s oeuvre and enabled him to fight prejudices with his art. After graduating from the pretigious Pratt Institute, Mapplethorpe met Patti Smith in 1967 and they moved to the Chelsea Hotel in 1970. The same year Mapplethorpe began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages with a polaroid camera he acquired. In 1973 at Light Gallery in New York, he opened his fist solo show “Polaroids”. In 1975 he began photographing artists, musicians, pornographic film actors, and members of the S&M underground with a Hasselblad medium-format camera he acquired. After participating at Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977, Robert Miller Gallery began representing him in 1978. Throughout the 80s he focused on aesthetics and beauty. Stylized compositions of male and female nudes reminiscent of the majestic appearance of ancient Greek figures, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities were his genres of preference. He also collaborated for several years with Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding champion, on multiple projects. During his creative life Mapplethorpe introduced and refined different techniques and formats such as 20” x 24” Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. The artist, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, had his first major retrospective show a year before his death, in 1988 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important and influential artists of our day.
The exhibition, curated by Paul McMillen and realized in conjunction with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation will showcase a variety of 26 iconic works from different periods of the artist’s creative life.