Bob van Orsouw

Self (S)expression

12 Oct - 16 Nov 2013

Gerard Petrus Fieret
Untitled [Woman with Earring]
Nobuyoshi Araki
Gerard P. Fieret
Pierre Molinier
Carlo Mollino
Miroslav Tichý
12 October – 16 November 2013

Galerie Bob van Orsouw is pleased to present the group exhibition Self (S)expression. While deeply personal and irrefutably unique, it is their unconventional approach to photography and obsessive interaction with desire, eroticism, and the human figure that ties together these highly singular bodies of works. Stepping into their private universe, Self (S)expression brings together for the first time the works of Nobuyoshi Araki, Gerard P. Fieret, Pierre Molinier, Carlo Mollino, and Miroslav Tichý, revealing many unseen or little-known vintage works in an uncommonly intimate setting. The flow of private, close-up imagery presented reveal the way in which they saw the world and their place within it. Whether trained or self-taught, celebrated artist or working on the outside edges of the art world, photographing the constructed or chasing reality, their work is linked by sexual context and an intense desire for self-expression.
One of Japan‘s most prolific artists, Nobuyoshi Araki‘s (*1940) extensive oeuvre demonstrates a mastery of composition and tone through a contrasting use of photographic effects and varying explicitness of subject matter. The to-date unseen vintage prints presented illustrate the artist‘s open-ended approach and his anticipation to avoid moralistic classification. Enframing both the intimate and the public by taking on universal themes such life and death, eroticism plays a central role to Araki‘s wide-ranging output. Photographing ceaselessly, he gave birth to the term “photo-self”, fusing ideas of fiction, reality, and desire. His vast accumulation of visualised sexual encounters document the artist‘s lived moments and an obsessive account of existential significance.
Similarly an obsessive observer, Gerard P. Fieret (1924-2009) was devoted to capturing on film the „totality of life“. The Dutch spent over two decades amassing an immense pictorial diary, including everything from street scenes to animals, children or himself, but especially women. Whether during casual encounters or captured in intimate poses, his unconventional approach to his subjects parallels his raw, imperfect photographic language and eccentric, chaotic style of printing. Obsessed with ownership, his copyright stamps and felt-tip signatures across the front of his prints have become an inextricable feature of his work, heightening the idea of individual emotions and experiences.
Contrastingly, leaving nothing to chance was the photographic vocabulary of Italian architect, designer, engineer, novelist, photographer, and bon vivant Carlo Mollino (1905-1973). Set in lavishly furnished, opulent private environments he called ‘garçonnières’, Mollino created hundreds of carefully prepared, enticing portraits of women. Facilitating the staged eroticism, these statuesque figures are crucial elements of his overall composition and become a part of his complex interiors. Never meant for the public but found in boxes only after his death, his photographic oeuvre was a stylised staging of personal seduction heightened by the instantaneity and uniqueness of the Polariod.
Less romantic and momentary yet equally meticulously prepared were the visualised sado-masochistic fantasies of French photographer and artiste Pierre Molinier (1900-1976). Taking self-expression to extremes, Molinier lived out his carnal, often violent obsessions. Dubbed the „forgotten Surrealist“, Molinier left behind a chronicle of his subconscious desires, investigating transsexuality and sexual ambiguity. Theatrical, extreme, yet honest his photographs and montages was meant not solely for self expression, but equally to provoke the onlookers‘ response and uncover their own, true erotic appetite.
Small objects of obsession of a dissimilar kind are Miroslav Tichý‘s (1926-2011) unique, imperfect prints, reflective of his idiosyncratic lifestyle. With self-constructed cameras he daily wandered the streets of his native Kyjov (Czech Republic), creating thousands of pictures of girls and women in parks, public swimming pools, or going about their daily lives blissfully unaware. Blurry and cropped, torn and scratched, some adorned with handcrafted frames or fine pencil drawings, his melancholic snapshots of poetic quality are an intriguing mix of intrusive voyeurism and tender affection of femininity.
Hung in a flowing dialogue with one another, the works of these five artists present a voyage of discovery of one‘s own desires and experiences through diverse approaches and procedures. Staged within a space filled with unique vintage gelims from northern Iran, this rare, sensual setting underlines the intimacy of their work. Unified by the expression of their eccentric lifestyles through the photographic lens, each of their worlds, as dissimilar as they may be, are reflections of their individual personalities.

Tags: Nobuyoshi Araki, Pierre Molinier, Carlo Mollino, Miroslav Tichy