“I am looking for perfection in form. I do that with portraits. I do it with cocks. I do it with flowers.” Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais Paris

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Man in a Polyester Suit Robert Mapplethorpe-1980

Man in a Polyester Suit Robert Mapplethorpe-1980

The Grand Palais in Paris is known for being a space which exhibits only the most highly acclaimed artists. Robert Mapplethorpe however  much adored by us, is an artist whose work has existed within the reals of the gay BDSM scene and New York subculture so it seems interesting that an establishment as renowned as The Grand Palais are ready to deal with such contemporary and possibly controversial themes and work. Exhibiting over an impressive 250 works this exhibition will be the largest ever to be devoted solely to Mapplethorpe 25 years after his AIDS related death.

The breadth of work on show exhibits Mapplethorpe’s ability to create both grace and strength through his monochromatic subjects which  are on show alongside Polaroids of the early 1970s to the portraits from the late 1980s, touching on his sculptural nudes and still lifes, and sadomasochism.

The exhibition also touches of his more delicate portrayal of women with fantastic presentations of the strong Patti Smith and Lisa Lyon, which is a lesser known area of his work in contrast to his sculptural extravagances of the male body. His famed images of the nude black and white portraitures infuse with depth and geometric dimension but are also put on show next to personal portraits of friends and sexual endeavours.

Like Man Ray, Mapplethorpe wanted to be “a creator of images” rather than a photographer and the challenge of this exhibition is to show that Mapplethorpe is a great classical artist, who addressed issues in art using photography as he might have used sculpture. “If I had been born 100 or 200 years ago, I might have been a sculptor, but photography is a very quick way to see, to make sculpture.”

The variety of his work will exemplify the very core notion of what Mapplethorpe’s work is, as an artist driven by the question of the body and its sexuality and obsessed by the search for perfect form. This is certainly not an exhibition to miss if you are a fan of Mapplethorpe.

You can watch a clip from the fantastic 1988 Arena documentary on Mapplethorpe of him having his nipple pierced here too.

Robert Mapplethorpe is at The Grand Palais in Paris, France from March 26, 2014 – July 13, 2014. For more information click here.

Thomas, 1987 / Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Thomas, 1987 / Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Mapplethorpe “Lisa Lyon, 1982

Mapplethorpe “Lisa Lyon, 1982

Lisa Lyon, 1981 Robert Mapplethorpe

Lisa Lyon, 1981 Robert Mapplethorpe

 

 Leather Crotch (Entrejambe en cuir) (1980) by Robert Mapplethorpe

Leather Crotch (Entrejambe en cuir) (1980) by Robert Mapplethorpe

 

Robert Mapplethorpe Ajitto 1981-2

Robert Mapplethorpe Ajitto 1981-2

 

Mapplethorpe

Body parts 2 , Mapplethorpe

 

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