The Land and the Body
The majority of works in the exhibition come from a prominent, private collection. The exhibition picks up on these threads of curiosity and the idiosyncrasies that come naturally when collecting, reflecting the personality of the collector and their latent vision.
Like pairing the subject of the body and of landscapes, this online exclusive exhibition is an opportunity to pair in numerous iterations different artists to illuminate important questions and issues they raise. Louise Bourgeois next to Jeff Koons next to Annie Leibovitz. Helmut Newton next to Cindy Sherman next to John Stezaker. Marinne Hugonnier next to Hunter S. Thompson next to Tseng Kowng Chi.
Cindy Sherman transforms her own body, pushing our understanding of photography, identity, and portraiture. In the end, perhaps the most profound question to ask and to contemplate when confronted with Sherman’s photographs is, “Who is she?”.
Helmut Newton is one of the most important fashion photographers of the 20th century. His sensual depictions of the female body were mainstays of magazines including Vogue and altered our visual vocabulary in understanding fashion and femininity.
Marine Hugonnier’s stunningly beautiful image of a mountain belies the danger and effort it took to take the photo. From her film “Ariana” the image is from the Panjsher Valley in Afghanistan. The photo plays with our expectation in its almost National Geographic style while also subtly critiquing the power dynamic between photographer and photographed, authority and subject.
Hiroshi Sugimoto is most known for his photographs focusing landscapes as a means to meditate on the metaphysical – time, space, identity. “In Praise of Shadows” comes from a series capturing the life of a candle flame before it finally goes out.
Annie Leibovitz, famed for her portraits, has captured in this image of the dancer June Omura from the Mark Morris Dance Group all of her hallmarks – sensitivity to her subject, an understanding of early photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as art history as Omura’s body suggests 19th century paintings of odalisques. Leibovitz worked alongside important photojournalist Hunter S. Thompson, also shown in this exhibition.
Tseng Kwong Chi, like Sherman, creates staged self-portraits. His body amongst a scenic landscape asks us to consider issues of identity and the politics of viewing. He referred to himself as “the inquisitive traveller”, confronting us with perceptions of Western and Eastern stereotypes. Like Hugonnier, his images push us to consider at what point does one become a tourist, who is considered “an everyman”, and whose views are prioritized?
Other photographs that meld the body and the landscape are works by Antony Gormley and Izimi Kaoru. Gormley, known for his singular focus on the human body via his sculptures, has photographed a bodyprint in snow. Kaoru’s photograph, with its alluring title, appears to be a fashion photoshoot when in reality, it obscures both something more insidious and more transcendent.
Also included in the exhibition are Carlos Betancourt, Tatiana Botton, Louise Bourgeois, David Dawson, Richard Deacon, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Alex Maclean, Clare Richardson, Sean Scully, John Stezaker, Hunter S. Thompson, and Zhang Huan.