The exhibition Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn. by Miles Aldridge (*1964, London) is coming to Berlin. The British photographer has been one of the most sought-after international fashion photographers since the 1990s and achieved worldwide fame through his highly stylized, psychedelic style with quotes from film, art history and pop culture. Immaculately smooth surfaces and femininity enhance the artificial effect of the images, which are rendered in a palette of rich and shimmering hues, all photographed on film.
The show reflects three strands of his cosmos: The Virgin Mary refers to the religious paintings of artists like Caravaggio, who created theatrical moments through dramatic lighting, costuming and staging. The supermarket is a metaphor for consumer society and the hope of self-optimization through retail therapy. Finally, popcorn stands for the influence of cinema in Aldridge's work. Iconic filmmakers such as Hitchcock, Lynch and Fellini served as a source of inspiration for his style.
"We live in an illusion of control in our consumer and social media-oriented lifestyle. A utopia that we have created in order to achieve a fictitious security. The truth, however, is that we have no control at all. Because when life comes at us fast and surprises us with things like disease, social injustice, civil unrest and pandemics, we are incredibly vulnerable and defenseless. These are facts that my images focus on and highlight through the use of great colors, carefully crafted details and a certain cynical, dark humor," says Miles Aldridge.
Including about 80 works, the exhibition is his retrospective to date. Among the series is (after Cattelan) from 2015, in which the artist Maurizio Cattelan invited Aldridge to react to Cattelan's sculptures over the course of a night collaborating at the Monnaie de Paris museum.
"The exhibition sees itself as a best-of from Miles' work. It ranges from tableaux to the striking, sometimes witty and sarcastic female roles to the iconic Immaculée and (after Cattelan) series. Portraits of stars such as Sophie Turner, Donatella Versace, Rick Owens and Ralph Fiennes are also on display. A smart ride through Miles' extravagant cosmos," says curator Nadine Barth.
The exhibition is a collaboration between curator Nadine Barth and Johan Vikner, Global Director of Exhibitions at Fotografiska International, and was previously on view in Stockholm, New York and Tallinn. The exhibition has been made in close collaboration with the artist and his galleries; Lyndsey Ingram, London, Christophe Guye, Zurich, Reflex in Amsterdam, Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles and Galerie Maximilian, Aspen.
Recently, Miles Aldridge published the book Please please return Polaroid with 204 pages and 117 illustrations with Steidl Verlag. A special edition of the same name is available in the Fotografiska Shop.