Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners Street
London W1T 3LN
“For his birthday in Paris on Nov 4, 1971 Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé took Robert to dinner and then to the Rive Gauche boutique and let him pick out anything in the store. He chose a simple black shirt. He said it was the cheapest thing in the store, but that’s what he wanted” – David Croland
This week sees an exhibition of the late Robert Mapplethorpe’s fashion photography at London’s Alison Jacques Gallery in collaboration with the artist and photographer’s long-term boyfriend David Croland. Known primarily for images of sexual exploration in a time when New York’s gay scene was relatively underground – dying of AIDS in 1989 and immortalized in singer Patti Smith’s autobiographical Just Kids – the exhibition seeks to explore another side of the infamous artist’s interests in fashion, design and beauty.
The focus of the exhibition, somewhat timely opening on the cusp of London Fashion Week, sees lesser-known images from Italian Vogue, French Vogue and LA Style. The images, clearly carrying the artist’s signature aesthetic, show a control and understanding of composition, notably the use of structural and geometric elements, skillfully melding these interests in fashion and the body.
Editorial images are shown alongside the artist’s signature silver gelatin and Polaroid images; from now ubiquitous Leather Crotch to portraits of major influential figures in fashion, from Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent to Grace Jones, introduced to Mapplethorpe as a result of his relationship with Croland.
Miguel Cruz, 1986
The exhibition will run until 5th October 2013