BERLIN.- Camera Work
presents an exhibition of Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn opened on April 21, 2012. Titled »Inwards and Onwards«, the exhibition shows an extensive selection of impressive photographic portraits of eminent figures in the world of art, music and fashion.
The large-format portraits featured in the exhibition »Inwards and Onwards« testify to the substantial body of artistic work that Anton Corbijn has created. Apart from striking photographs of true music legends such as Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith or Tom Waits, who have always fascinated Corbijn, the photographer has focussed in his recent work on modern personifications of artistic inspiration such as Marlene Dumas, Gilbert & George or Jeff Koons. Working only in black and white with a Hasselblad camera, Anton Corbijn aims to reduce his photo shoots to the essential. He uses his subjects familiar environments as settings and works on his own with available light assistants or artificial lighting are off-limits for him. Corbijn understands the camera as a means to an end ultimately, he tries to capture the personality and the character hidden deep within the person portrayed beyond any kind of superficial staging although some playfulness is sometimes apparent as with Damien Hirsts photograph and that of Jeff Koons.
This unique visual experience can also be found in the unconventional portrait of Gerhard Richter, who not only because of his profession is fully aware of the possibilities that the photographic medium offers for selfdramatization. Anton Corbijn shows the artist with his back turned, thus granting the subject his wish for personal intimacy while at the same time reflecting on his creative work after all, the people portrayed in Richters works often have their backs turned on the viewer or are blurred beyond recognition. The late painter Lucien Freud, who passed away in 2011, was another one of the artists who not only let Anton Corbijn enter his private space, but who also allowed him a glimpse of his character. The gesture and the portrayal of personality that define the picture as well as the palpable atmosphere of the photograph are the result of Anton Corbijns unique approach to his subjects. This approach allows Corbijn to picture layers of personality hidden behind enactments and facades that can only be elicited by art.
The photographs offer fascinating insights into singular personalities, as exemplified in the portrait of Kate Moss, whose mask creates a paradox: while destroying the model persona created by the media and calling attention to the real person rather than the construct, it also works as a symbol for the interplay between the sacrifice of privacy and its protection. Other images shown in the exhibition, such as the portrait of Anthony Kiedis, play with the appeal of the serious surreal. Anton Corbijns photographs attest to the self-analysis of the portrayed and make it visible, while at the same time captivating the viewer with their appealing imagery and their seemingly abstract scenarios, in which the figures depicted allow an intimate glimpse into their personalities: »Inwards and Onwards«.