Saturday, 1 October 2016

Review of Robert Mapplethorpe: Objects at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg

Robert Mapplethorpe: Objects
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg
29 August – 19 November 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-89) may be best known for his photographic works and controversial imagery of the underground BDSM scene in the late 60s and early 70s of New York, but he didn’t really begin taking photographs until he borrowed a Polaroid camera in 1971, and then later acquired a Hasselblad medium format of his own. Before this point, he studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, majoring in graphic art (although he dropped out in 1969 without completing his degree). During this time, however, and in the years immediately following, he made a large number of collages and three-dimensional assemblages, compiling everyday objects and found images from (often pornographic) magazines. This small, but enlightening and enriching exhibition at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg, brings together 12 of these “objects”, rarely ever seen, and recently acquired by the J Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, set up by the artist before his death from HIV/Aids-related complications at the age of 42.

The objects on display show a clear graphic influence, with the triangle – representative of the Trinity and the traditional portrayal of the Holy Family – recurring as a repeated leitmotif throughout. One of six children, Mapplethorpe had a strict Catholic upbringing, which permeates his work, even when its content becomes more explicitly homosexual and contentious.

Read this review here

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