“Guy Bourdin: The Portraits” is a collection of the most personal works ever shown to the public in Paris since the artist’s death in 1991, showcasing rare works produced between 1950 and 1980.
Curated by historian Shelly Verthime, this exhibition features over 150 photographs shot by the artist that are both intimate and personal. Early black and white photographs–greatly influenced by Surrealism but little-known–stand alongside Bourdin’s more iconic, timeless photographs, while a special showcase of personal Super-8 films shot by the artist completes the collection.
This exhibition is organized in collaboration with The Guy Bourdin Estate and Louise Alexander Gallery.
THE INFLUENCE OF SURREALISM
The exhibition, entitled Guy Bourdin: The Portraits traces the influence of Surrealism in Guy Bourdin’s work. Influenced by his close relationship with the artist Man Ray, Guy Bourdin’s early portraiture displays the origins of the uniquely Surrealist visual language that would eventually become part of his signature style.
These early portraits are captured from his first pictorial layouts, such as ‘Chapeaux Choc’ – Vogue Paris and Artists’ portraits – Nouveau Femina. Both were published in February 1955 and present the clarity of his vision. This exhibition highlights Guy Bourdin’s artistic fascination with sharp graphic compositions, concepts, croppings and a narrative cinematic portraiture.
Concluding the journey through Guy Bourdin’s forty-year artistic pursuits are the distinctive color editorial and advertising imagery which represent a highpoint in late 20th century fashion photography. Pushing the
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boundaries of fashion photography with his mysterious, hypnotic and surreal vision, he presented bold and engaging images with a unique contemporary aesthetic.
The exhibition also highlights Guy Bourdin as a pioneer of fashion film, showcasing personal Super-8 films he made at the same time as his photo-shoots.
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was first and foremost an innovative image-maker who never ceased to learn and explore from his early portraits to his later commercial work, where the figure is Integral to the image but always remaining secondary. Today his works remain as fresh and modern as when they were first produced.