In a 1988 interview for BBC’s Arena, the legendary Robert Mapplethorpe shared his view on taking images: “Photography is about me wanting to see things and secondary to what it is to the audience. Once I’ve taken the photograph it wasn’t shocking to me anymore – I’ve been through the experience.”
It seems like it only takes a similar mind to break the stigma of Mapplethorpe’s posthumous establishment and respect, and bring back the emotions he triggered in the USA back in the 1970s. In honour of what would have been the 70th birthday of Robert Mapplethorpe, Juergen Teller has curated 48 photographs by the iconic American photographer at the Alison Jacques gallery. The exhibition is a celebration of the work of Mapplethorpe through the eyes of Teller.
With an incredibly rich archive to choose from and a humorous mind of his own, Teller’s approach to curating Mapplethorpe is one of a child in a sweet-shop. A giant male nude is standing tall across from a photo of a toddler-aged Eva Amurri, while a tiny kitten is hiding in a sofa directly facing a sexual act that’s simply too explicit to explain. Teller on Mapplethorpe is equally about contrast, shock and humour, taking you on a 48-image journey of laughter, disgust and excitement.
Teller on Mapplethorpe is on display at the Alison Jacques Gallery, 16-18 Berners Street, W1T 3LN London until the 7 January 2017.
Text by Dino Bonacic