This exhibition presents Deborah Turbeville’s photographs from her Comme des Garçons photo shoot for Italian VOGUE in 1981. On May 4, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will also open the retrospective exhibition “Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”.
This period was an important one for Deborah Turbeville. She completed three major projects: Comme des Garçons, Women in the Wood, and The Glass House. In subsequent years she reworked this material using multiple printing methods, different papers and sizes, bleaching and darkening.
This exhibition of black and white and color photographs presents Deborah Turbeville’s fashion work. This distinct, intensely personal vision projects a sense of isolation, romanticism, and ambivalence that is haunting and disturbing. Turbeville creates a charged atmosphere of mystery, ambiguity, and drama by combining elements of architecture, décor, and fashion with her sense of composition, often presenting women in groups, with no interaction between them.
Romantic, languorous, evocative portraits of women in their environments and architecture create a mood of being frozen in time. In her extremely sophisticated and intellectual work, clothing is the backdrop to her cinematic evocation of an untold story. This work takes place in a dream world of castles and gardens, often decayed and derelict, timeless and unreal.
Born in Massachusetts, Turbeville (1932-2013) started her career as a model for designer Claire McCardell. She became a fashion editor and then a photographer. Since her work first appeared in VOGUE in the 1970’s she has been acknowledged as a dominant figure in contemporary photography, bringing an entirely original vision to the art. She has had numerous exhibitions throughout the world.