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from 20 SEP 2018 to 09 JAN 2019
Robert Mapplethorpe (New York, 1946–1989, Boston) created some of the most arresting, polemical, and iconic images in contemporary photography. Robert Mapplethorpe: Pictures, organized in close collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, brings together 159 works from throughout the artist’s career, from early collages and Polaroids, to the images of flowers, nudes, sexuality and portraits that made him one of the most notable photographers of the last century.

Having studied painting and sculpture in New York before turning to the medium of photography, Mapplethorpe was influenced by the art of Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, as well as the nineteenth-century photography of Julia Margaret Cameron and others, of which he was to become an avid collector. The artist’s early collages, assemblages and photographs, initially taken with a Polaroid camera, develop the interest in sexuality and composition — right angles, geometric shapes of light — that would come to define his mature work.  Using a fully-manual Hasselblad camera beginning in 1975 — the viewfinder framing the world in its square format — Mapplethorpe began to employ long exposures and ordered arrangements in the studio to craft portraits, still lives, and nudes whose order, balance, and content redefined photography as an art form. 

Mapplethorpe treated these subjects with equal attention and precision, from cut flowers and male sex organs, to the cast of friends, lovers, celebrities, and collaborators he depicted, turning a photograph into the controlled performance between artist and subject. Both controversial and classicist, the artist’s pioneering engagement with gender, sexuality, and race is reflected in depictions of queer and non-heteronormative bodies, pleasure, and desire, in photographs suspended in the tension, as with all of Mapplethorpe’s work, between the emotive and political intensity of their content and the clarity of their composition. 

Robert Mapplethorpe: Pictures is organized by the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, and curated by João Ribas with coordination by Paula Fernandes.

All artworks in the exhibition are on loan from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York.

ADVISORY: The exhibition "Robert Mapplethorpe: Pictures" has images that can hurt the sensibility of some people.

Image: Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait,1983 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.  Used by permission.
Related Activities

22 SEP (SAT), 11:30 AM | Guided visit to the exhibition
by Michael Ward Stout, Chairman of the board of the Mapplethorpe Foundation

in the framework of the exhibition and the EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS, with Jonathan Nelson, Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Syracuse, Florence (European Heritage Days)

07 OCT (SUN), 12 PM | Guided visit to the exhibition
by Sónia Borges, educator
More information here.

20 OCT (SAT), 5 PM | Talk in the exhibition
with Jack Walls and André Príncipe, artist

27 OCT (SAT), 3:30 PM |  Guided visit in Portuguese Sign Language to the exhibition
by Laredo, Cultural Association

20 NOV (TUE), 7:00 PM | Guided visit to the Exhibition
Exclusive meeting for Friends of Serralves with Paula Fernandes, curator of the Serralves Museum
More info here.

08 DEC (SAT), 5 PM Guided visit to the exhibition 
by Eduarda Neves, researcher

09 DEC (SUN), 12 PM Guided visit to the exhibition 
by Raquel Correia, educator

29 NOV (THU), 9:30 PM | Serralves Auditorium
Mapplethorpe, Director: Ondi Timoner
This film screening is the result of a partnership between the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and Queer Porto — Festival International de Cinema Queer.

Pictures brings together for the first time in Portuguese art historian Jonathan K. Nelson’s most comprehensive overview of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work and a short yet insightful foreword his close friend Susan Sontag wrote upon the artist’s express request. The exquisite binding of this extensively illustrated coffee-table book translates Mapplethorpe’s pleasure in the tactile that led him to the pioneering use of non-photographic materials.
The catalogue section follows the chronological order, with occasional exceptions to highlight kinships and/or for aesthetical reasons.
25 x 32 cm (width x height)
400 pp
Hard cover
Bilingual POR/ENG
Design: Pedro Nora
Exclusive Sponsor of the Museum and the Exhibition
  • LocationSerralves Museum
  • Days 20 SEP 2018 - 09 JAN 2019

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