Beauty in quiet moments, electricity beneath the surface. These are the moods that encapsulate the work of the great American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, seen through new eyes in an exhibition curated by Oscar-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola.
Eye to Eye is an ongoing series on Mapplethorpe’s work at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris, with previous artist curators including David Hockney (2005) and Cindy Sherman (2003). For this show, Sofia Coppola selected images very much in step with her own sensibilities. There isn’t a specific narrative but a mood that coincides with her work. “There were, of course, famous images that I knew but it was interesting to see photographs I didn’t know of his. I didn’t know he did sweet portraits of children and animals, for example”, says Coppola. Included in her curation are sweet moments: a photograph of a pineapple with lines and architecture we never appreciated before. Other photographs show incredible strength, seen in San Francisco socialite Katherine Cebrian’s face alongside a simmering tension of crashing of waves. Mapplethorpe allowed the mood, meaning and purpose of his work to emerge gradually, meaning each curator can find an undiscovered angle or sentiment that has been lost on others. A privileged look at the universe of a man who could create sound in a still image, re-imagined by one of the coolest filmmakers of this generation.
Robert Mapplethorpe curated by Sofia Coppola opens November 25th and runs until January 7th at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, 7 Rue Debelleyme, Paris.
Text: Michael Kowalinski
All Mapplethorpe Works © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg.