Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg is currently presenting an exhibition of works by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, as part of the gallery’s celebration of its 30th anniversary. This exhibition is the latest addition to the gallery’s ongoing series dedicated to Mapplethorpe’s career.
Curated by Cannes award-winning French actress Isabelle Huppert, the selection reflects her fondness for his softer, more delicate images, describing him as a photographer poet. Other Mapplethorpe exhibitions have been curated by artists such as Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, Bob Wilson, and Sofia Coppola, giving viewers “a different and more personal take on his work.”
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in New York allowed Huppert access to its library, from which she selected over one hundred works, ranging from emblematic photos to snapshots and unpublished polaroids. Photos of nudes focusing on the shape of the human body are placed next to elaborate images of Lisa Lyon, Mapplethorpe’s favorite female model, and still-lifes of flowers are placed next to portraits of melancholic women. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has described Huppert’s decisions as a portrait of Mapplethorpe’s softness. As she says, she looks at each photo as a poem, and that Mapplethorpe’s world “is pent with softness and silence…His flowers are alive, almost human, and his bodies are frozen in their eternal beauty.”
Born in 1946, Mapplethorpe grew up on Long Island in New York, studied painting and sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and later focused on photography as his preferred medium. Mapplethorpe is best known for his stylized black and white portraits, mainly of flowers and nudes. He was criticized for the presence of homoerotic, supposedly exploitative images in his photographs, and he is praised for his attention to detail, technique, and the exactitude of his craft. Mapplethorpe died at the age of 42 from AIDS, before which he founded the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars to fund medical research fighting AIDS and HIV.
The exhibition at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, will continue through October 26, 2013.
Robert Mapplethorpe, (Installation View), courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg
Exhibition Page [Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac]