Mapplethorpe, Robert (1946 - 1989)

Born in a greatly religious environment, Robert Mapplethorpe nonetheless finds in New York’s 1970s underground scene his artistic path. Fueled by the quest for freedom of blacks, women and homosexuals and inspired by sculpture, he creates provocative yet highly stylized photographs where flowers and children mingle with close-ups of sexual organs and sadomasochistic portraits. In a way that evoked Greek figure vases, the American photographer created strong, uncluttered black and white compositions of statuesque nude models, conveying a classic and homoerotic sensibility. He also often played with different skin tones and sexual ambiguities to question innovative interpretations of race and gender along those of sexual preferences. While he entered popular culture's legend with his relationship with singer Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe explicitly illustrated his gay sexuality in his art's imagery, depicting a world that until then had been kept behind closed doors. Thus defining his work as a lifelong quest for perfection that did not deny reality and the way it was meant to be represented.


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