Images, intimacy and Robert Mapplethorpe
A lecture and panel discussion with artists
On Robert Mapplethorpe’s birthday, join the Gallery’s curator of photography, Isobel Parker Philip, and contemporary Australian artists for a discussion on photography, intimacy and the enduring legacy of one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century.
In her book Just kids, Patti Smith wrote: ‘Robert took areas of dark human consent and made them into art. He worked without apology, investing the homosexual with grandeur, masculinity, and enviable nobility. Without affectation, he created a presence that was wholly male without sacrificing feminine grace.’
Undoubtedly, Mapplethorpe’s images evoke both a rawness and elegance in their portrayal of the body, sex and gender. In many ways, his photographs of New York’s 1970s gay bondage scene opened up new ways for artists to depict and define sexuality and human intimacies.
This afternoon of talks will open with a short lecture by the Gallery’s curator of photography Isobel Parker Philip on the exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium, highlighting the presence and performance of intimacy in Mapplethorpe’s work. This will be followed by a panel discussion with artists Samuel Hodge, Paul Knight and Spence Messih. Together they will explore the depiction (and fluidity) of the body, sexuality, gender and intimacy in today’s photographic practices.
Image: Robert Mapplethorpe Self-portrait 1975 from the exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission