THE FASHION OF EXISTENTIALISM
By Nicole Bray
For photographer Miles Aldridge, the fashion world is deep in his DNA. After quickly rising to success in fashion photography, he, like his predecessors Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, veered his work in a different direction and sought to capture peculiar and stirring cinematic vignettes. While living amongst the glamour of the fashion world, Aldridge was fascinated about what real life might be like behind the glitzy facade, and this prompted him to create images reflecting hyper-stylized and glamorous scenarios of dazzling banality and existentialism.
3-D, 2015 (c-print, 40 x 40 in, addition of 10 + 2 APs). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Using Hollywood lighting and production techniques, he captures a decisive moment of ordinary domestic life and juxtaposes it with a hyper-glamorous expressionless model to create a surreal and cinematic narrative. The central character in his work could be a bored housewife or an over-protected daughter, but each protagonist appears caught in an existential moment, a moment of realization, anxiety or boredom, which prompts the viewer to wonder what brought them to this point.
The first thing someone notices about Aldridge’s work is the electric color palette of the hyper-stylized world, but upon closer inspection, a darkness reveals itself from the beautiful deadpan model-esque character, drawing you in to feel some empathy or compassion for her both bleak and beautiful situation.
Home Works #7, 2008 (c-print, 40 x 60 in, addition of 2 APs). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
For Aldridge’s most recent body of work, (after), he collaborated with the artists Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George, and Harland Miller, placing their artworks or the artists at the center of his work. In each series, he seeks to expand the medium of photography through subject matter and technique. He creates otherworldly and surreal encounters by a female nude with Cattelan’s art, has Gilbert & George awkwardly interacting in their would-be home with an androgynous male model, and places Harland Miller’s large-scale paintings of book covers into actual book covers held by 50’s pin-ups.
(After Cattelan) #3, 2016 (c-print, 66 3/10 x 45 4/5 in). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
In Shadows I Boogie (after Miller), 2017 (c-print, 40 3/5 x 29 1/2 in). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Cabaret #4, 2006 (c-print, 14 x 21 in, addition of 10). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Chromo Thriller #2, 2012 (c-print, 12 3/5 x 17 in, addition of 10). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Dog Lady #4, 2009 (c-print, 26 1/2 x 40 in, addition of 10 + 2 APs). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Short Breaths #5, 2012 (c-print, 60 x 45 1/4 in, addition of 6). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Tan Lines #5, 2012 (c-print, 29 x 40 in, addition of 10). Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Aldridge’s work can be found in many important collections and adorns the walls of various boutique hotels. His photographs fit perfectly into ‘fabulous’ places. Most recently, his work was placed in the lobby of Cachet Boutique, a luxury 105-room hotel in Midtown West, Manhattan.
For inquiries about Aldridge’s work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
artREAL contributor Nicole Bray is the founder of Mercer Contemporary and guides private and corporate clients through each step of acquiring, selling, managing, and displaying artwork. She received her Masters in Contemporary Art (Hons.) from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York. She was the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Emerging Curator Fellowship 2015, and has worked at both an Auction House and for a distinguished private family. If you would like to contact Nicole, or if you are interested in starting your own collection, please email her at email@example.com or visit www.mercercontemporary.com.