Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplehthorpe, Linlithgow


Linlithgow Burgh Halls


American artist Robert Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries of photography in both his subject choice and technique. This has led to him sometimes being remembered exclusively for his controversial and often explicit images. However, the outstanding collection of Mapplethorpe photographs in ARTIST ROOMS allows these ‘controversial’ works to be considered in the context of his entire oeuvre.

In 1988 Mapplethorpe stated: “I don’t like that particular word ‘shocking’. I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before... I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.” Yet Mapplethorpe also photographed more traditional subjects, and the ARTISTS ROOMS collection includes flower studies and portraits of many of the most influential artists, writers and musicians of the period alongside several iconic self portraits – in particular a poignant portrait of Mapplethorpe shortly before his death from an AIDS related illness in 1989.

This exhibition sought to examine Mappelthorpe's understanding of form and light in the composition of formal portraits, still lifes and figurative works that celebrate the sensual quality of nature and the human body.

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