juergen teller to curate robert mapplethorpe exhibition in london
To celebrate the photographer’s 70th birthday, London’s Alison Jacques gallery get one iconic photographer to curate the work of another.
Robert Mapplethorpe is undeniably going through a renaissance right now, in what would be his 70th birthday, had he not cruelly been struck down by AIDS aged 42 in 1989. This year alone there have been retrospectives of his work in Paris, Oslo, Aarhus, Istanbul, Montreal, and three in LA. There was also a long overdue documentary, Look At The Pictures, that received critical praise, and Raf Simons integrating a series of Mapplethorpe's images into his spring/summer 17 collection at Pitti. And there's the hotly anticipated, Ondi Timoner-directed biopic due next year, starring Matt Smith and Zosia Mamet as Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith respectively.
Now, the latest in the Mapplethorpe victory parade is an exhibition of images at London's Alison Jacques Gallery curated by none other than German photographer Juergen Teller. Alison Jacques, who have represented Mapplethorpe's estate in the UK for the last 17 years, will open the photographer's entire archive for Juergen Teller to chose from.
Speaking about Teller, Alison Jacques said that he "was the only choice to curate this special exhibition of Robert's work. There are obvious parallels between these artists and I am excited to see how Juergen will bring his edge, energy and unique vision to a new reading of Robert's work".
It will be interesting to see how one iconic photographer interprets the work of another. The diversity of Mapplethorpe's work -- he worked in celebrity portraiture, reached for classicist formalism, shot still lifes, and nudes to create work that takes in the erotic, beautiful, shocking, tender, and sublime -- provides fertile ground for interpretation and reinterpretation, like perhaps no other photographer.
Teller on Mapplethorpe will run from 18 November 2016 to 7 January 2017 at Alison Jacques Gallery, London.
Text Felix Petty
Photography courtesy of Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation