79 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
29th March- 2nd May
Opening hours: Monday- Sunday 11am- 7pm
What an amazing surprise to stumble upon this Guy Bourdin exhibition whilst wandering the streets of Cheongdam after work today. The exhibition comprises of 75 of this legendary artist’s photographic prints from French Vogue editorials and other advertising campaigns which have been put together to form Volume I of a new book entitled ‘A Message for You.’ It’s great to see these highly polished, stylised and provocative fashion shots, but the biggest treat is the clips of his films, both formal and informal, which are on show and inadvertantly provide us with a closer look at the man on the other side of the camera.
Many people are familiar with the photographic work of Bourdin; stylised, glossy, exotic shots with an emphasis on bright, brash colours. They’re always posed with a cheeky sort of air to them. These elements combined always make me think of candy, really hard bright red cherry candy that you have to suck on for ages. The models used will more than likely be young, scantily clad, high heeled, leggy beauts with back combed hair and obscenely shiny red lips painted onto perfect faces. The photos ooze the models’ sex and often have harrowing undercurrants as well as nods to surrealism. What a winning combination!
Whilst I loved the photographs, it was the films that really caught my attention, especially since this is a side of his work lesser known. The first film, ‘Leila Rhodes,’ (1975), is played on a loop and set up in a mirrored room, emphasising a repetitive obsession. We are shown a nude and lifeless Leila lying face down on fake grass, luscious copper hair splayed around her, with super glossy red vixen lips and wicked nails as a goldfish flips and squirms by her face, also on it’s way to meet it’s maker. Interests in Surrealism, abstraction and humour detected in this film are apparent in the rest of the clips too. We are shown a reverse male strip tease, giggling models with billowing fan blown hair in Bourdin’s studio and a woman in white satin underwear reclining over the lap of an extremely awkward and rigid looking tuxedoed gentleman.
All this is set to a soundtrack of a handful of kind of melancholy songs from previous decades, including The Shangri-La’s Past, Present and Future. Very fitting for this wonderful exhibition which through film, takes us back in time to the actual moments where Bourdin produced these by now familiar photographs which can only be his. They bring to life the beautiful but character-less models as well as offer a closer look into the inner workings of this highly influential artist. I highly recommend.
Please refer to www.10corsocomo.co.kr for more information and directions.