Phillips to Present ULTIMATE STEVEN KLEIN
A Selection of Polaroids from the Steven Klein Archive and a
Unique Diptych to be Premiered in London in September 2020
LONDON – 27 AUGUST 2020 – Phillips is pleased to announce ULTIMATE STEVEN KLEIN, a curation of 24 lots of unique Polaroids, taken with a Polaroid camera or film by the celebrated photographer Steven Klein. The selection will go on view in Phillips’ galleries on Berkeley Square on 19 September, marking the first time that this body of work is exhibited in Europe. The majority of works to be offered were created during editorial assignments for the following international publications: W, Vogue US & Italia, L’Uomo Vogue and Interview. In addition, Klein has created a unique oversized diptych of his iconic Good Kate, Bad Kate covers for the March 2012 issue of W magazine exclusively for ULTIMATE, a unique platform for promoting and selling exceptional photographs, photo-based works and video, available only at Phillips. This exclusive offering, showcasing Klein’s distinctive vision that subverts our notions of glamour, fame, and beauty will be offered in the Photographs auction at Phillips London on 25 September 2020.
Yuka Yamaji, Head of Photographs, Europe, said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Steven on ULTIMATE STEVEN KLEIN and to premiere his wonderful Polaroid prints, which provide an intimate and insightful glimpse into his creative process. Major museums from MoMA to the V&A, and most recently the Getty, with its 2018 exhibition Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011, have celebrated fashion photography as an art form, and in recent years, we have seen a notable increase in the demand for fashion photographs. Following the success of our previous fashion collaborations with the likes of Vogue and Calvin Klein, we are excited to present collectors an unparalleled access to these unique photographs by Steven Klein that capture defining moments in pop-culture history.”
Steven Klein, said, “There is inherently a fragile nature to Polaroids and instant film compared to digital; this fragileness, this one of a kind exclusiveness creates an aura around the object of the photograph – a kind of fetish, a talisman. Talismans are magical objects. Carl Jung said, ‘The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.’ I think the viewer's interaction with an image can be transformative as well. Ancient art and image making were perceived as belonging to the magical realm. This project before you is a demonstration of conjuring images from the void through the transmission of Light. Art ultimately is a way to make sense of the chaos we enter as humans.”
Steven Klein is one of the most innovative and provocative artists in photography and film. A highly sought-after figure, he has landed coveted covers of magazines such as Vogue and W with his riveting body of work being featured globally and has shot high-profile advertising campaigns for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, and Dior. A visionary and creator, Klein has made unique contributions to the arts during his nearly four-decade career and continues to push the boundaries of visual language through his image-making. Klein trained as a painter at the Rhode Island School of Design and was a 2014 recipient of an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography (ICP). His work has been exhibited worldwide, including Deitch Projects, Gagosian and the Guggenheim in New York and reside in several public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, London; the V&A, London, and the ICP, New York.
This dedicated offering presents Klein as a storyteller who creates narrative epics that transform our understanding of his subjects, which includes some of the biggest names in film, music and fashion: Brad Pitt, Angelia Jolie, Madonna, Prince, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Alexander McQueen. Surveying Klein’s long-term relationship with instant photography, the works in this curation span three decades. Initially, Klein’s Polaroids – intimate works of art in their own right – acted as visual studies for what became his final published images. These were all shot with a Polaroid back attached to a film camera.
Years later Klein returned to the Polaroid, not as a means to an end but as the finished work, publishing the actual Polaroids in magazines. Three of the lots on offer, including the Madonna cover image, were published in the February 2017 Polaroid Issue of Vogue Italia, which Klein photographed entirely using the Polaroid, calling it ‘the first form of visual instant gratification’. The works created more recently were taken with a Polaroid camera on Fuji instant film. With Polaroid and Fujifilm ceasing production of packfilm (also known as peel-apart film), the instant photographs in ULTIMATE STEVEN KLEIN, which were shot exclusively on packfilm, also serve as unique artefacts of analogue photography.
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