Revolutionary, contemporary and nonconformist: Richard Avedon’s style transformed fashion photography, inviting his models to play with spontaneous movements and poses. One hundred years after his birth, 150 artists, designers, musicians, writers and curators are invited by Gagosian to select a shot particularly significant to their experience with the photographer. Avedon 100 aims to share his spectacular career with the public, while showing a series of works in which some of the world’s most famous figures recognize themselves, including Naomi Campbell, Elton John, Spike Lee, Sally Mann, Kate Moss, Chloë Sevigny, Christy Turlington, and Jonas Wood. The viewer abandons himself in front of the photographs, and he’s carried away by the beauty of the black and white, by the natural elegance of her muses, and by the emotions felt in front of his works. The exhibition allows the public to engage with the various periods of his life, presenting Richard Avedon as the photographer who made his mark in the fashion system, as well as in the social world, using his shots to take part in struggles for justice.
Avedon 100 celebrates Avedon’s enduring influence on photography and makes clear his profound impression on visual culture worldwide.
Born in New York, May 15th, 1923, Avedon pushed the boundaries of photographic language, exploring a space still unknown, which he enriched with his unmistakable style and innate sense of elegance and sophistication. His images achieve perfection and express intensity and lightness at the same time, confirming the medium’s status as a true contemporary art form. The attention to light and dark and the study of lines unfold through images with a spontaneous character, abandoning classic, rigid poses to embrace the more natural side of the models. Avedon captures liberating movements, expressing the naturalness of the subject and keeping intact the elegance of gestures and the charm of the authentic gaze. The models do not pose, they come to life and seem to dance before the lens. The exhibition shows the great transformation that the very concept of photography underwent through iconic and rare shots, including his singular mural prints, as well as unique images never before publicly exhibited. A black-and-white journey to discover the enormous and fascinating diversity of Avedon’s subjects: portraits that are not simply the result of observation, but go so far as to represent creative acts in which the photographer’s personality manages to capture the many facets of the subject depicted. The clean background, without any disturbing elements, makes the protagonist of the photo isolated from the rest, bringing out his soul and character that contribute to the realization of a psychological portrait. Avedon 100 investigates this apparent simplicity of his shots through the emotions of the person posing reflected in the person observing, which encompasses Avedon’s innovative, theatrical, and transgressive point of view.
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Avedon 100 shows how the artist dissolved the lines between photographic genres and cemented the medium’s status as a contemporary art form.