Towner presents Robert Mapplethorpe – photography with sculpture
Robert Mapplethorpe: Self Portrait 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
The work of this man has arrived at the Towner Gallery Eastbourne. It will delight, surprise and shock those new to his images. For those familiar to his work it will be another chance to view one of the most celebrated and controversial photographers of the late twentieth century.
The exhibition runs from 25 September – 21 November
Provocateur. Innovator. Icon. Towner plays host to the South Coast’s first ever exhibition of work by one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century, Robert Mapplethorpe. The exhibition comes to Towner, Eastbourne’s award-winning new contemporary art museum, as part of ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund, a nationwide initiative designed to display the outstanding new national art collection donated by Anthony d’Offay. Towner’s exhibition will feature around 60 iconic Robert Mapplethorpe images from the ARTIST ROOMS collection, whilst offering a fresh perspective on this groundbreaking artist with a selection of his sculptural works never before seen in a UK public gallery.
Following the success of 2009, 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2010 are showing 25 ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions and displays from the collection created by the curator and collector, Anthony d’Offay, and acquired by the nation in February 2008. ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund has been devised to enable this collection held by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.
ARTIST ROOMS at Towner will feature 60 of Mapplethorpe’s most defining photographic works from the 1970s and 80s – encompassing career-spanning self portraits, depictions of the male form and iconic photographs of his contemporaries (including Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Marianne Faithfull and Lisa Lyons).
Towner’s addition of a group of sculptural pieces sourced from private collections adds a new dimension to the ARTIST ROOMS collection, shedding light on an area of Robert Mapplethorpe’s practice unknown to many. The sculpture includes wall mounted star and arrow works and mirrored pieces.
Anthony d’Offay said “By bringing previously unseen works into the UK and mounting a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition that includes his sculpture for the first time, Towner presents an ambitious exhibition that builds on the ARTIST ROOMS collection to provide an exciting insight into the world of this unique and important artist.”
Matthew Rowe, Artistic Director of Towner, added “Robert Mapplethorpe was one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. I am delighted that we have been able to work with ARTIST ROOMS to bring this extraordinary collection of his work, made available through the exceptional generosity of Anthony d’Offay, to Eastbourne.
“The addition of his sculpture means that the people of the South East will be able to enjoy a UK first and experience another side to Robert Mapplethorpe – and the exhibition is entirely free of charge.”
Born in 1946, American artist Robert Mapplethorpe produced some of the most striking images of the last 50 years. Garnering fame and notoriety in equal measure for the often challenging nature of his photographs, Mapplethorpe’s celebrated body of work spans acclaimed depictions of the male form, delicate flower studies, enduring celebrity images and vivid documentation of his native New York’s underground scene. His work holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is with honesty and truth, and Towner seeks to provide a rounded and insightful view of Mapplethorpe the artist.
The exhibition coincides with Brighton Photo Biennial 2010, a celebration of cutting edge contemporary photography. Mapplethorpe’s work provides a historical context whilst reinvigorating the contemporary debates around photography.
To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS on Tour please visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms. To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms
Towner’s exhibition will feature 2 images of Lisa Lyons not shown before as part of ARTIST ROOMS, as well as Andy Warhol’s silkscreen portrait of Mapplethorpe alongside Mapplethorpe’s self-portraits.