The only thing even more extravagant than his pictures is Robert Mapplethorpe’s (1946–1989) own life. The American was obsessed about becoming famous, and he let nothing stand in his way. Sex was his other obsession, and even in this he was limitless and shameless, both in his own experience of it as his explicit pictures. In the documentary Mapplethorpe - Look at the pictures is it easy to see why his work was so controversial and why the charismatic Mapplethorpe was so loved by many.
Mapplethorpe became famous for his sensitive and direct style of shooting. His pictures are often in black-and-white and therefore highly stylized. The title of the film is not only an incentive to look at Mapplethorpe's photographs, but also a statement of a bewildered homophobic senator who wanted to close down an exhibition of the photographer in 1989. “I do not see why this would be considered shocking”, Mapplethorpe said, “sex is not something dirty”. One of his most famous pictures, "Man in Polyester Suit" was sold at the exhibition for $ 2500. In 2015 it raised $ 390,000 at an auction.
Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato interviewed countless of Mapplethorpe's friends, colleagues, neighbours and loved ones. They are captured in colour with a Hasselblad - The characteristic camera with which Mapplethorpe made his black-and-white photos.
The documentary gives a wonderful glimpse into the New York art scene in the 1970s and 1980s, in which Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and Fran Lebowitz, among others, were active. Another special feature is to hear Mapplethorpe himself in several old recordings, in which he unceremoniously elaborates on his life, his lovers, and his desire for fame. Shortly before his death in 1989, he himself appointed his biographer. “You must tell her everything,” was his last request. “Keep my memory alive.”
‘Mapplethorpe Look at the pictures’ was selected for IDFA 2016.
Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 - March 9, 1989) was an American photographer known for his photographs of flowers and naked men. The explicit homosexual eroticism of some of his works often led to problems with authorities. Mapplethorpe grew up in New York with two sisters and two brothers.
Mapplethorpe started out working with photos for others. He made his first pictures with a Polaroid camera. In the mid 1970s he got hold of a Hasselblad camera and began taking pictures of friends and acquaintances, artists, composers, and celebrities. In the 1980s he turned his attention to photographing male and female nudes, still lifes and flowers.
Mapplethorpe died on March 9, 1989 at the age of 42 due to complications from HIV/AIDS.
Tv Tip: Aired at NPO 1 December 1st, 2016, 22:55, NPO 2