Monday, 11 July 2011

Redefining Women

Untitled (Fashion)
On the weekend I visited Pedder Building in Central and it was sad to see most of the shops in the upper floors have vacated the area. Some had left notes on their shop windows indicating where they had moved to, others left no trace behind.

Some boutiques are still in business but holding removal sales, others moved to higher floors.

Nevertheless there are two galleries in the building and one of them on the seventh floor is Gagosian Gallery which has many locations including New York, London, Rome, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong.

The one here is showing the work of Richard Prince for the first time in Asia.

Cowboys & Girlfriends
The painter and photograher was in the news in March this year, found guilty of copyright infringement, taking images by photographer Patrick Cariou and creating art with them. They included pictures of Rastafarians Cariou took in Jamaica.

However, taking images and reworking them into art is what Prince does. He is known for manipulating pictures and words to give them new meaning. Prince started doing this in the late 1970s when he worked in the tear-sheet department at Time/Life in New York. He took magazine ads for jewellery, furniture, fashion and cigarettes and cropped them, removed ad copy from the image and re-shot the black and white images in colour film.

These "rephotographs" opened up discussion about authorship, ownership and the aura of the image -- that's what the gallery says. And it's true.

Nurse's Tricks (2009)
For example in the Nurse Paintings, he will take a picture of a nurse from the cover of a 1950s pulp romance novel and blow it up and paint a mask over her face. Another is a masked nurse posing in a state of undress. Or he takes images of semi-nude or nude women on motorcycles and shrinks them and repeats their images over and over again and on top of that have a witty sentence. A similar one is a collection of small images of model Kate Moss repeated in a sequence and then he paints over them.

He has a strong fascination of women and how they are portrayed in American culture. In Celebrities, there is a collection of female stars, many of them topless or nude, from Elizabeth Hurley to Pamela Anderson, Lisa Bonet, Anna Nicole Smith and Lucy Lawless. He'd track down their head shots or promotional photos and he would sign them himself, using the actor's name.

Prince once said: "Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman that will give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong home, that's what it means".

In some aspects what he is doing is clever and also reflects the media landscape we live in today -- the constant bombardment of images and how we process them in our minds.

Prince is creating the new pop art for the new millennium.

Gagosian gallery
7/F, Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street
2151 0555
Until August 27

1 comment:

  1. hi can you post the higher resolution photo of that nurse painting? thanks.