If the resulting image had a cinematic power or gestural implication it often had more to do with luck than intention. But that changed in the 1980s, when he began approaching the nude “as a total body of work” and tirelessly refining his attitude towards it. Captured moments became considered, pre-determined poses.
Taking a selection of these dream-like and meticulously composed black-and-white images as its point of departure, Nude and Muses explores Gibson’s studied yet sensuous recontextualizing of the male gaze. Yet it is not simply a celebration of the fetishized female form – all the visual leitmotifs to have shaped and set apart this master photographer’s work over the past half a century are also present: compressed shadows, strong diagonal lines, his penchant for proximity…for moving ever closer to his subject. There are also allusions to the many other themes – or muses – he has an ongoing relationship with, including time, music and abstraction.
Perhaps most unmistakable of all in Nude and Muses is Gibson’s technical rigor, something he honed in the 1960s, during his time spent in the US Navy and then working as an assistant for the American photojournalist Dorothea Lange. But ultimately the striving for something greater – more profound, more universal – than mere skill is what draws us in. Here we find one of the most unorthodox and unclassifiable photographers of our time exploring the boundaries of surrealism, allegory, beauty and eroticism – and the mysterious phenomenological properties of photography. These are imposing and poetic images…images that only a camera, and someone committed to mastering it on their own terms, could take.
Ralph Gibson - Ralph Gibson
- 08.05.18 - 26.06.18
Leica Gallery Bangkok
2nd Floor Gaysorn Village
999 Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan
Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 8 pm