MILES ALDRIDGE & MAURIZIO CATTELAN
April 15 - May 21, 2017
We are pleased to offer you an exclusive first look at this unique collaboration and the opportunity to pre-order the work through our gallery. Each work is available in a small (ed. of 10 + 2AP's) and large size (ed. of 6 + 2 AP's).
Please contact the gallery for more details and information.
We will present the latest work by Miles Aldridge during Unseen Photo Fair in September 2017. Spring 2018 a new exhibition will take place at our gallery.
A publication about the collaborative project of Miles Aldridge & Maurizio Cattelan will be released this month.
Read the essay which renowned Michael Bracewell has written for the publication.
“Some kind of love - ”
Miles Aldridge and Maurizio Cattelan
by Michael Bracewell
“ - she appeared in her nakedness with a calm audacity, confident in the all-powerfulness of her flesh. A slight gauze enveloped her; her round shoulders, her breasts, the rosy tips of which stood out straight and firm as lances, her hips swayed by the most voluptuous movements… her thighs, in fact, her whole body could be divined, seen, completely, beneath the transparent covering. It was Venus rising from the sea, with no other veil than her locks…. …..There was no applause. No one laughed now…” 
- looking at these strange situations, such compelling tableaux, created from the encounter between the cartoon iconoclasm of Maurizio Cattelan's sculpture and the icy fluorescent sci-fi film noir of Miles Aldridge's vision as a photographer - "like a dirty French novel, the absurd courts the vulgar" , as Lou Reed sang, thinking perhaps of Apollinaire's surrealistic pornography - potency tested, the world turned upside down; all becomes tension, begging for release...
Surrealists, theorists, iconoclasts, blasphemers, spitters into life’s face, fantasists, pornographers – modernist pranksters.
Apollinaire; Bataille – “I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.” 
‘After Cattelan’ proposes instantly compelling narratives – and most invitingly, several different narratives, potentially, simultaneously. It is as though each image can be comprised of various distinct and individual stories – just as Marcel Proust referred to himself as “the many gentlemen of whom I am comprised.”  These potential stories –an image does the work of a novella – are of different tempers; their mood shape-shifts; they slip without effort up and down a continuum of seriousness – of ‘serious play’  as that activity exists within the history of Romanticism.
“the possibilities are endless…”
After Cattelan’: the iconography of historic and moral meaning, of good and evil, becomes an absurdist boudoir. The image exemplifies postmodern Romanticism, and the reclamation of romantic irony – the palette of a neo-Gothic fantasy: an urgent and persistent need for spectacle and sensation, ritual, the bizarre, unhinged and uncanny, disruption, heightened style, games, seduction, exaggerated emotion, fear, poetry, elegy, wonder, perversity, awe, violence, irreverence, myth, voyeurism, intellectual imagination and wit, the beckoning unknown and unknowable - in the face of technology and time, the world shrunk and the universe explained.
Standing in the lobby of the new millennium, it could seem as though this reclaimed Romanticism – as a mood, an instinct, a nexus of aesthetic, emotional and intellectual possibilities –is as logical a progression in art as abstraction; a counter-mood of disruption and intervention; an end-of-history imagery, informed, in part, by the memory of post-structural and deconstructionist parlor games of punning, semiotic collage and appropriation that had distinguished postmodern culture.
What lies beyond the Deep Space Industrial Style of coolest postmodernism – beyond the crimson songbird on the kettle spout, the insides on the outside of the modern bank, the “guess-what’s-happening-now…”  - may be a Romantic engagement with history and human presence, with aesthetic, emotional and cultural event, ramped up to extremes..
“….put jelly on your shoulder – lie down upon the carpet…”
Technical exercise, absurdist erotica, serious minded, chortle, cool impersonality, intimate, humorless, academic, dumb, archaic, blank, political, romantic, flirtatious, classical, open-handed, poetic, fetishist. A tension of opposites presides over this image of a naked young woman, utterly assured in her nakedness.
Does the image dissemble? The work appears both straightforward – an exercise in technical dexterity, somewhat archaic in its formality, conveying intimate bodily presence - and a bravura deployment of conceptual and pictorial ambiguity. Overt, yet somewhat defensively conservative, the image declares itself unedited, for the viewer to respond as they will.
As ever, the image studies the viewer, as the viewer studies the image.
A note of sexiness, on a low but audible frequency, when related to the apparent warmth, sensuality, even, of the subject. The viewer is confronted by the visceral presence of the nude figure, erotically stylized, totally in control -
In that it is realistic, representational, naturalistic; the work refuses to declare itself – and therein lies a part of its interest: a conversation piece.
It seems as though the image conveys physicality over corporeality: the figure presents herself, simultaneously, as classically nude, merely unclothed and intimately naked: the beauty of the young body is not flaunted or posed in any manner, but neither is it denied.
As such, the image seems both sexually neutral and ambiguously erotic; it engages with the most accurate and evocative depiction of its cataclysmic, surreal, slapstick, disquieting subject-as-context– as though Aldridge and Cattelan were responding to a challenge to describe human presence through the language of figuration and deranged myth, and in doing so invoke the range of differing feelings attendant on our perception of the body, and of this body in particular.
The compelling female possesses an immediacy that derives from pictorial and physical urgency. There is a poetic intensity – the atmosphere of a similarly ambiguous or nuanced short story - to both its frankness and its unusual nature.
The viewer might wonder whether the artists had chosen this subject as both a technical exercise and as the creation of a ‘difficulty’ – in praise of languor and disruption of complacencies.
The meteorite; the dictator; the imprisoned horse; the unexpected arrival.
“and no kinds of love…”
This postmodern romanticism (these postmodern romanticisms) reprise Schlegel’s notion of ‘Romantic Irony’ – as though an earlier position, intellectually defined, had come around again, reviving an impulse and a mood and a mission.
“…are better than others…”
“….even though he said it softly, even though he whispered it, it was a command, and obeying never failed to arouse her. Hearing the word now made her desire to obey even stronger, because doing a stranger’s bidding is a special madness, a madness all the more heady in this case because the command came not from a man but from a woman.
Sabina took the camera from her, and Tereza took off her clothes. There she stood before Sabina naked and disarmed. Literally disarmed: deprived of the apparatus she had been using to cover her face and aim at Sabina like a weapon. She was completely at the mercy of Tomas’s mistress. This beautiful submission intoxicated Tereza. She wished that the moments she stood naked opposite Sabina would never end.
I think that Sabina, too, felt the strange enchantment of the situation: her lover’s wife standing oddly compliant and timorous before her. But after clicking the shutter two or three times, almost frightened by the enchantment and eager to dispel it, she burst into loud laughter…” 
“….between thought and expression, lies a lifetime…”
Schlegel went beyond the conventional usage of Irony as a figure of speech: a straightforward rhetorical device that consists in saying the opposite to what is meant.
Schlegel’s romantische Ironie – as he called it – had deeper implications than this. It implied a recognition by the artist of the paradoxical nature of his own position. Art was full of duplicity. It was at the same time all-meaning and frivolous, deeply revealing yet artificially constructed. Furthermore, such duplicity was not arbitrary. It was a reflection of the paradox of man’s existence. It was only by the assumption of a paradoxical frame of mind, Schlegel argued, that the artist could achieve works that engaged this duality.
As Eichner  has put it:“He himself must be both detached and involved, deeply serious about his art yet capable of treating it as a mere game, trustful of his deepest impulses and yet full of critical, conscious awareness.”
1: Zola, Emile – ‘Nana’, 1880.
2: Reed, Lou – ‘Some Kind of Love’, (1969) [Italicized section headings also quoted from this lyric.]
3: Bataille, Georges – quoted in ‘Violent Silence, Celebrating Georges Bataille’ ed. Paul Buck (1984)
4: Proust, Marcel – cited in ‘Marcel Proust: Selected Letters 1880 – 1903’, ed. Philip Kolb (1989)
5: For further discussion of the concept of ‘Serious play…’ – see William Vaughan – from ‘Landscape and the ‘Irony of Nature’’ in ‘The Romantic Spirit in German Art 1790 – 1990’. Published by South Bank Centre, National Galleries of Scotland and Oktagon Verlag, 1994, on the occasion of the exhibition ‘The Romantic Spirit in German Art 1790 – 1990’. The original version of Vaughan’s article was published in ‘Art History’, 2. no. 4. (1979)
6: Quoted from Gill, Peter, O’Toole, Mark – ‘Relax’ (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) (1984)
7: See 5.
8: Kundera, Milan – ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ (1988)
9: See Eichner, H - ‘Friedrich Schlegel’ (New York, 1970)