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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unseen: Guy Bourdin

"French photographer Guy Bourdin is among that lot of macabre but gloriously talented artists (think Stanley Kubrick), whose work equally disturbs and intrigues. The influential French Vogue contributor was rumored to be whiney, stung by the abandonment of his mother at a young age and unfairly demanding. There was no doubt that Bourdin was struggling with some dark demons: You need not look further than his photographs, which often feature an unholy mix of death and desire, misogyny and eroticism (the leggy, usually nude, models he used often had their heads cropped off or hidden). Despite the twisted subject matter, his photos are highly cinematic as well as glamorous and inspired a legion of photographers including Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Nick Knight and David LaChapelle."
“Unseen: Guy Bourdin,” which opened last Saturday at The Wapping Project in London, is a collection of 32 of the photographer’s unseen works. Shown in a massive former hydraulic power station-turned arts center, the industrial-chic environ feels like an apt place to show the work. The Wapping Project founder and director Jules Wright — who was aware that Bourdin wanted his photographs to be destroyed after his death (in 1991 at age 63) — felt no moral implication when planning the show, which was curated in conjunction with Bourdin’s son Samuel Bourdin and Phillips de Pury & Company, and hosted by Bourdin’s model muse, Nicolle Meyer. “It is a bit of a conundrum,” she says, “However, from my point of view, I think the work is extraordinary and it deserves to be seen. It’s so influential and I’m pleased and delighted to be showing it, and for the work to be re-looked at, reappraised, re-thought.”
Through July 4 at The Wapping Project, London.

ALSO: The Films Of Guy Bourdin

From a makeup artist's point of view many of Monsieur Bourdin's photographs were also very exciting because he demanded a particular look to the makeup. A very pale foundation with dark smokey eyes, brightly colored lips and heavily rouged cheeks were usually his signature look.

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