Combining the beautiful with the bizarre, the elegant with the extreme, the classical with camp, the artists depict human identity as exquisite corpse, the spirit of transformation that has fueled the march of art history and which has become, more than ever, a sustaining aesthetic principle of our own time.
Basically every picture we take is a self-portrait—a picture of how we feel at that moment in our lives.
—Inez & Vinoodh
Gagosian Athens is pleased to present photographs by Inez & Vinoodh, following exhibitions with the gallery in Paris and Los Angeles earlier this year.
Partners in life and work for twenty-five years, Inez & Vinoodh were among the first photographers to harness the full potential of digital manipulation in portraying the human condition. Combining the beautiful with the bizarre, the elegant with the extreme, the classical with camp, they depict human identity as exquisite corpse, the spirit of transformation that has fueled the march of art history and which has become, more than ever, a sustaining aesthetic principle of our own time. Beginning in the early 1990s, they have embraced and updated classical genres (nude, portrait, still life), inspired by hyperrealism and Pop art. Photographs created independent of commercial commissions and magazine editorials are genre-melding and boundary-riding in form and representation. Using the digital medium as the very tool of the uncanny, Inez & Vinoodh suggest the complex internal dynamics that lie beneath appearances, mapping postmodern beauty in all its guises from the classical to the utterly extreme.
Embracing a passion for flowers and the iconographically charged still-life paintings of their Dutch heritage, Inez & Vinoodh have produced a series of lush yet edgy flower photographs, compositions of strange beauty more akin to the heightened mannerist genre of Karl Blossfeldt, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Nobuyoshi Araki than to classical nature studies. Envisaging these botanical ensembles with an approach that is both idiosyncratic and exquisitely precise, they imbue mere flowers with the force of human subjects.
Portraits taken over the last ten years juxtapose the famous with the lesser or little known. All reflect the complicity established with the photographers, and the decisiveness with which Inez & Vinoodh capture, distill, and sometimes even sublimate the individual characters. Some images are utterly modern and candid, while nude studies of topical fashion models—including Freja Beha Erichsen, Eva Herzigová, and Lara Stone--form a taxonomy of postmodern female archetypes. These photographic imaginings, whether one or many steps removed from reality, frequently involve casting the subject in an unfamiliar pose or guise, with further manipulations in post-production. With their preference for disturbance and displacement, Inez & Vinoodh work to unsettle the real and make the familiar ever strange.
Inez & Vinoodh were born in 1963 and 1961, respectively, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They met while studying art and photography. Since beginning to work together in the late 1980s, they have created images for many leading international brands in luxury and fashion, as well as regular editorial features for magazines such as i-D, Interview, Purple, Pop, Vanity Fair, Vogue USA, Vogue China, Paris Vogue, Vogue Hommes International, Vogue Italia, Another Magazine, Gentlewoman, Visionaire, V, V Man, and W. Their retrospective project Pretty Much Everything is the most comprehensive record of their work to date. The catalogue published by Taschen is a magnificent limited-edition book in three volumes, designed by M/M Paris with essays by Glenn O'Brien, Michael Bracewell, Bruce Sterling, and others. The extensive travelling exhibition of the same name—which mirrors the book and juxtaposes images of all genres and formats—is updated with new material at each new showing. "Pretty Much Everything" opened at FOAM, Amsterdam in 2010, traveling to Sao Paulo in 2011, and Dallas Contemporary, Texas in 2012. The trade edition of Pretty Much Everything is currently in preparation.
Inez & Vinoodh live and work in New York.
For further inquiries please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +188.8.131.52.215. All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.
Please join the conversation with Gagosian Athens on Twitter (@GagosianAthens) and on Instagram (@GagosianGallery) via the hashtag #InezandVinoodh.
Image: Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, My Little Darling—Eva, 2002, Pigment Print on watercolor paper, 40 x 32 5/8 inches (101.6 x 82.9 cm). Ed. of 5
Opening reception: Thursday, October 10th, from 6:00 to 9:00pm
3 Merlin Street Athens
Hours: Mon-Fri 11-6 & Sat by appointment