Artist | Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989)

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Image Artist Title Year Material Measurement
Robert Mapplethorpe


Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989)

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Modified 2002-06-28 15:19:20
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Exhibition at Galerie Stefan Roepke

Exhibition at Galerie Stefan Roepke

Robert Mapplethorpe
05.07. – 07.09.2002
Galerie Stefan Röpke, St.-Apern-.Straße 17-21, D-50667 Köln

Robert Mapplethorpe (*1946), der mit 42 Jahren am 9. März 1989 an Aids starb, ist einer der bekanntesten zeitgenössischen Photographen der USA. Vor allem durch seine homoerotischen Motive erregte er Aufsehen, die in Amerika und später auch in Europa zu einer Welle der Entrüstung, aber auch zu einem Nachdenken über Zensur führten.

Die Ausstellung „Flowers" zeigt ausschließlich die schwarzweißen Blumenaufnahmen von Robert Mapplethorpe, die in den achtziger Jahren zu einer bedeutenden Werkgruppe in seinem OEuvre wurden. Ihm gelang es, die Blumenphotographie in die moderne Kunst einzuführen, ohne sich damit im geringsten dem Vorwurf des Kitsches stellen zu müssen.

Auch bei den floralen Motiven lässt sich Mapplethorpe's vorrangiges Thema ablesen: die zum Stilleben stilisierte Sexualität. Formal zeichnen sie sich durch eine absolute Klarheit der Komposition aus, die dennoch eine erotische Intensität vermittelt, die die dargestellten Blumen jenseits der unschuldigen Symbolik, die ihnen gewöhnlich zueigen ist, erscheinen lässt. Die Aktaufnahmen werden durch das Ideal der Schönheit sublimiert, welches durch jede von ihnen durchscheint. Die Blumenaufnahmen hingegen erhalten eine Aura der Unheimlichkeit, die aus der Darstellung ihrer Analogie zu menschlichen Körperteilen und der damit verbundenen erotischen Wirkung resultiert.

Doch am pointiertesten hat Robert Mapplethorpe dies selbst zusammengefasst: „Meine Haltung beim Photographieren einer Blume unterscheidet sich nicht sehr von der, wenn ich einen Schwanz aufnehme. Im Grunde ist es das Gleiche. Es geht um Beleuchtung und um den Bildaufbau. Es macht kaum einen Unterschied. Der Blick ist derselbe."



Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946, the third of six children. He remembered a very secure childhood on Long Island, which he summed up by saying, “I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment, and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave.” He received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he produced artwork in a variety of media. He had not taken any of his own photographs yet, but he was making art that incorporated many photographic images appropriated from other sources, including pages torn from magazines and books. This early interest reflected the importance of the photographic image in the culture and art of our time, including the work of such notable artists as Andy Warhol, whom Mapplethorpe greatly admired.

Mapplethorpe took his first photographs soon thereafter, using a Polaroid camera. He did not consider himself a photographer, but wished to use his own photographic images in his paintings, rather than pictures from magazines. “I never liked photography,” he is quoted as saying, “Not for the sake of photography. I like the object. I like the photographs when you hold them in your hand.”His first Polaroids were self-portraits and the first of a series of portraits of his close friend, the singer-artist-poet Patti Smith. These early photographic works were generally shown in groups or elaborately presented in shaped and painted frames that were as significant to the finished piece as the photograph itself. The shift to photography as Mapplethorpe’s sole means of expression happened gradually during the mid-seventies. He acquired a large format press camera and began taking photographs of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. These included artists, composers, socialites, pornographic film stars and members of the homosexual underground. Some of these photographs were shocking for their content but exquisite in their technical mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, “I don’t like that particular word ‘shocking.’ I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before…I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.”

During the early 1980s, Mapplethorpe’s photographs began a shift toward a phase of refinement of subject and an emphasis on classical formal beauty. During this period he concentrated on statuesque male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and formal portraits of artists and celebrities. He continued to challenge the definition of photography by introducing new techniques and formats to his oeuvre: color Polaroids, photogravure, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachomes and dye transfer color prints, as well as his earlier black-and-white gelatin silver prints.

Mapplethorpe produced a consistent body of work that strove for balance and perfection and established him in the top rank of twentieth-century artists. In 1987 he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research and finance projects in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.

Robert Mapplethorpe died march 9, 1989

Exhibition Announcement on Artist Page Exhibition Announcements 

Image Opening Closing City/Country Exhibition Place Exhibition Title
May 19, 2021 01:00 am Aug 30, 2021 London Dulwich Picture Gallery Unearthed: Phot ...
Buy Art, Artwork for Sale, Kunst kaufen

Imogen Cunningham, Agave Design I,1920s. © The Imogen Cunningham Trust.



Dulwich Picture Gallery

Unearthed: Photography's Roots
Opening May 19, 2021 at 01:00 am
Start date May 19, 2021
End date Aug 30, 2021

Questioning the true age of photography, the exhibition will open with some of the first known Victorian images by William Henry Fox Talbot, positioning his experimentation with paper negatives as the very beginning of photography. It will also introduce a key selection of cyanotypes by one of the first women photographers, Anna Atkins (1799-1871), who created camera-less photograms of the algae specimens found along the south coast of England. Displayed publicly for the first time, these works highlight the ground-breaking accuracy of Atkins’ approach, and the remarkably contemporary appearance of her work which has inspired many artists and designers. The exhibition will also foreground the artists who produced unprecedented photographic art in the twentieth century without artistic intention. The medium allowed for quick documentation of nature’s infinite specimens, making it an important tool for scientists and botanists such as the German photographer and teacher Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) who captured close-up views of plant specimens in order to study and share an understanding of nature’s ‘architecture’. A selection of Blossfeldt’s ‘study aids’ will be displayed alongside work by the proud gardener Charles Jones, who used a glass plate camera to keep a meticulously illustrated record of his finest crops. Seen together for the first time, the two artists will be examined for their pragmatic approach that set them apart from the romanticised style of their time.

Nobuyoshi Araki - Anna Atkins - Alois Auer - Sir Cecil Beaton - Karl Blossfeldt - Adolphe Braun - Jan Brueghel I - Mat Collishaw - Imogen Cunningham - Roger Fenton - Adam Fuss - Ori Gersht - Cecilia Glaisher - Joy Gregory - William Henry Fox-Talbot - John Frederick Herschel - Gyula Holics - Jan van Huysum - Henry Irving - Charles Jones - Sarah Jones - André Kertész - Nick Knight - Lou Landauer - Richard Learoyd - Pradip Malde - Robert Mapplethorpe - John Moffat - Sarah Moon - James Mudd - Kazumasa Ogawa - [Enami Nobukuni] T. Enami - Albert G. Richards - Charles T. Scowen - [Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes] Scheltens & Abbenes - Helen Sear - Edward Steichen - Josef Sudek - Lorenzo Vitturi - Edward Weston - Walter Bentley Woodbury -
Alexander Moore -

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Exhibition History 

Exhibition History

SUMMARY based on artist-info records. More details and Visualizing Art Networks on demand.
Venue types: Gallery / Museum / Non-Profit / Collector
Exhibitions in artist-info 215 (S 63/ G 152) Did show together with - Top 5 of 2760 artists
(no. of shows) - all shows - Top 100
Andy Warhol (57)- 946
Cindy Sherman (35)- 337
Nan Goldin (27)- 176
Robert Rauschenberg (26)- 671
Ralph Gibson (23)- 56
Exhibitions by type
215:   108 / 69 / 33 / 5
Venues by type
147:   65 / 52 / 26 / 4
Curators 78
artist-info records Jun 1977 - Aug 2021
Countries - Top 5 of 18
United States (87)
Germany (48)
United Kingdom (16)
France (13)
Switzerland (9)
Cities - Top 5 of 73
New York (60)
London (14)
Köln (11)
Paris (9)
Frankfurt am Main (8)
Venues (no. of shows ) Top 5 of 147
Galerie Stefan Röpke (11)
Alison Jacques Gallery (6)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - SRGM (6)
Sean Kelly (5)
Galerie Thomas Schulte (5)
Curators (no. of shows) Top 5 of 78
Jennifer Blessing(3), Peter Weiermair(3), Luminita Sabau(3), Jean-Luc Monterosso(2), Diego Cortez(2)
Offers/Requests Exhibition Announcement S / G Solo/Group Exhibitions   (..) Exhibitions + Favorites
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

Unearthed: Photography's Roots

Dulwich Picture Gallery G May 2021 - Aug 2021 London (10) +0
Moore, Alexander (Curator)       +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

The Extended Moment

 - Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs
National Gallery of Canada G May 2018 - Sep 2018 Ottawa (29) +0
Thomas, Ann (Curator)       +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

Photo Show

Hal Bromm Gallery G Mar 2018 - May 2018 New York (71) +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

Il teatro di nessuno

Kanali d'arte G Mar 2017 - May 2017 Brescia (9) +0
Menolascina, Graziano (Curator)       +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

D'après Duchamp

Kanali d'arte G Nov 2016 - Dec 2016 Brescia (9) +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

Teller on Mapplethorpe

Alison Jacques Gallery S Nov 2016 - Jan 2017 London (71) +0
Teller, Jürgen (Curator)       +0