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“The work of Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) possesses many aspects. For the general public, the photographer is often associated with scandal and censorship (the organizers of his retrospective at le Grand Palais collected the “most disturbing” images in a room with access denied to minors. (According to which criteria are the images “most disturbing”?). It is nevertheless only an anecdotal aspect about his work.
In the exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe displayed at Thaddaeus Ropac in 2011, Sofia Coppola underlined the central role in the life and the work of the photographer played by the women, who contributed to his first successes thanks to images of the New York sadomasochistic homosexual scene.
We find in the selection made by Charles Riva the inescapable figure of Patti Smith, who was the muse and the accomplice of Mapplethorpe. The cliché is prominent here of the androgynous singer illustrating the cover of her first album Horses, as well as a more intimate photography, where the indirect reference to the record – two images of horses stuck on the wall – is highly visible”.(…)