Δευτέρα, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2012
At the heart of Mapplethorpe's photography there is a paradoxical tension between outrageous content and intensely controlled presentation. Mapplethorpe's images are often sufficiently obscene to be considered pornography (even by the artist himself), while his overall aesthetic is chaste, classical, and composed. The result is a strange alliance of the Dionysian and the Apollonian formed on the meeting ground of the human body. In "Breasts" (1987), abstract form emerges from quivering flesh: set against a black background and softly lit, the model's skin reveals its tautness and every fine hair becomes visible; at the same time, placement and angle transform her breasts into marble statuary and biomorphic architecture erases the individual organism. The subject of "Annamirl" (1984) lightly palpates her breast while looking out at the viewer with a look so cool and self-possessed that one feels her body is an object -- more an object of her own possession, in this case, than a target of external arousal and stimulation. In "Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter" (1979), a tidy, middle-class living room -- complete with draperies, Venetian blinds, and an oriental carpet -- is the scene of apotentially ferocious exchange between two leather-clad men, one seated, chained, and shackled, the other standing and holding the rings of the seated man's chains. "Self-Portrait" (1978) is shot from behind and shows Mapplethorpe, dressed in leather chaps and cowboy boots, with a bullwhip stuck in his anus. The whip trails out onto the floor like a rat's tail while the artist looks back at the viewer. On Mapplethorpe's face is a complex expression -- his eyes glowering, his mouth about to break out into a smile. The people in Mapplethorpe's pictures seem to have allowed the artist to be present not as a mere witness, but as an agent through which the ordinarily hidden and taboo is revealed as art. The images, then, are exposures of sexual truth. "I think it could be pornography and still have redeeming social value," Mapplethorpe once said. "It can be both, which is my whole point in doing it -- to have all the elements of pornography and yet have a structure of lighting that makes it go beyond what it is."
P.S. Photos edited by me