ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE at FONDAZIONE FORMA PER LA FOTOGRAFIA, MILAN
(©Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission. Due tulipani, 1984 – Image courtesy Fondazione Forma Milan)
From 2 December 9 April 2012
Daily form 10:00 to 20:00
Thursdays and Fridays until 22:00. Closed on Mondays
Admission €7.50, concession €6, schools €4
Information: 02 58118067
“If I were born one or two hundred years ago, I could have made a good sculptor, but photography is a faster way to see things, to make sculptures”.
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE at Fondazione FORMA per la Fotografia is the first major retrospective that celebrates, and present to the Italian public, the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, surely the most influent American photographer who portraits the boom of the sexual liberation, of performance and body art in New York between the 70s and 80s.
I got lost on my way to Fondazione FORMA per la Fotografia last Saturday: actually it is just one stop away from Piazza 24 Maggio, in Milan. The building is very charming and I have this feeling of not being in Italy. I have recently moved to Milan after spending some years between London-Venice-and-Paris and for the very first time in Italy, except for the time I used to work at the Venice Biennale (an unbelievable great Institution), I felt to be in a great international environment. I may be wrong, but that was my feeling.
The ground floor of the building is devoted to the main part of the exhibition, featuring Mapplethorpe’s most famous photographs: there is a section of Self-portraits, a section of the study of the male body and homosexual desire; part of the show celebrates Mapplethorpe’s friendship with American singer Patti Smith, whom he met in 1967 and shared part of their life and career with, since 1970 when they moved together into the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. There is a small section in the show featuring children portraits and a huge study around the body of Lisa Lyon, a bodybuilder woman who could perfectly combine the idea of the female and the male body. This exhibition is an excellent retrospective panorama of the whole career and of every single interest of the American artist: since his early Polaroids from the 70s, the flowers’ series and his melancholic portraits of children.
(©Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission. Senza titolo (boundage), 1973, Polaroid – image courtesy Fondazione Forma, Milan)
Apart from the photographs, on the top floor of the building (Sala Delle Cariatidi) there is a video with a series of interviews to art gallerists, collectors and of course some of Mapplethorpe’s models. The video starts with Patti Smith’s homage to her friend in front of the main entrance of the Alison Jacques Gallery in London for the opening of Robert Mapplethorpe: A Season in Hell. I felt like something strong into my tummy.. I was there that day, the 15th of October 2009. I remember going there, leaving from a heavy lecture with my classmates from Central Saint Martin’s. We really felt London was living an important day for the history of art. I have randomly found this link to the show with a video from the opening and Patti Smith’s performance.
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(©Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission. Lisa Lyon, 1982 – image courtesy Fondazione Forma, Milan)