Gagosian Paris is pleased to present photographs by Peter Lindbergh spanning thirty years, his first solo exhibition in Paris in more than a decade.
Over the course of his career, Lindbergh has taken inspiration for his photography from modern dance, early German and East European cinema and photography, as well as his own personal history, resulting in a bold, elemental photographic language. With a minimum of artifice, spare styling, and openness to improvisation, he allows the innate character and natural beauty of his female subjects to emerge.
In his editorial photographs for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, and many other international magazines, Lindbergh replaced stagy, calculated glamour with a raw vérité approach, enhanced by his use of high-contrast black and white. Set in both rural and industrial landscapes, the women in his photographs are distinguished by beauty that is purposeful, self-possessed, and uninhibited. “I don't think real beauty can exist without truth,” Lindbergh has said. “This idea disqualifies today's excessive retouching.”
The exhibition includes the pivotal “Wild at Heart” feature inspired by biker culture and shot on the streets of Brooklyn for Vogue in 1991; the gritty image of Kate Moss shot for Harper’s Bazaar in 1994 that was inspired by Walker Evans' iconic New Deal photographs; austerely beautiful depictions of women in motion that allude to modern dance; and editorial portraits of models including Kristen McMenamy and Uschi Obermaier, in which the subjects' clothing and setting are secondary to their expressiveness and movement. Breaking with the idea of classical chic, in 1988 he photographed six emerging models—Karen Alexander, Linda Evangelista, Estelle Lefébure, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Rachel Williams—in identical men's white shirts on a Los Angeles beach.
Some images are presented on an unprecedented large scale: In close-ups from 1990, Evangelista exhales a cloud of smoke, transforming her dark dramatic features into nebulous abstractions; in an image from 2000 Milla Jovovich is photographed in a dark turtleneck against a black background so that her elegant head and fixed gaze stand out in strong graphic contrast. Eschewing the established standards and artifice of fashion photography, Lindbergh has found artfulness in the conditions of reality, shot through with a grand cinematic sensibility.
Peter Lindbergh was born in Lissa, Poland in 1944. Solo exhibitions include “Peter Lindbergh: Images of Women,” Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo (1996, traveled to Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Kunsthaus Wien; Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome; Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, and other locations); “Peter Lindbergh: Stories Supermodels,” Ludwig Museum Schloss, Oberhausen, Germany (2003); “Peter Lindbergh: The Unknown,” Ullens Center For Contemporary Art, Beijing (2011); “Peter Lindbergh,” FoMu, Antwerp (2011-12); and “Peter Lindbergh: Berlin,” Maison de la Photographie, Lille (2013).
Lindbergh lives and works between Paris, New York, and Arles.