Robert Mapplethorpe

Mai 4, 2013

New York City

Skarstedt Gallery currently presents Robert Mapplethorpe Self Portraits, featuring eleven photographs that illustrate the artist’s long-term fascination with the genre. As variously costumed characters, Mapplethorpe researches his own identity, capturing his complex and contradictory nature. Whether depicting himself in a playful, fierce, or vulnerable state, the artist’s explorations are intensely personal and self-reflexive.

In a number of early self-portraits, Mapplethorpe boldly explores the notion of gender. In one work from 1980, the artist appears as a sneering, smoking greaser – a James Dean archetype. In another from the same year, Self Portrait (with make-up), Mapplethorpe blurs his gender identity by appearing in partial drag, his face dramatically made-up. By employing conventional signs for man and woman – physical, cosmetic, and sartorial – Mapplethorpe questions established notions of “male” and “female.” This gender-bending game is once again played in a third self-portrait from 1980. Wrapped in a fur collar, Mapplethorpe’s striking profile makes direct reference to Duchamp’s female alter-ego, Rrose Sélavy. In his homage to Duchamp, Mapplethorpe is showing his keen awareness of historical precedents and influences.

Skarstedt Gallery

May 2 – June 15, 2013
20 E. 79th St.
New York, NY 10075