Paolo Roversi: Guinevere
May 21–June 27, 2008
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Photography, as a medium, encourages the prolonged examination and documentation of a subject over time. To that end, the photographs on view (1996-present) exclusively depict Roversi’s friend and model, Guinevere, over the past twelve years. Roversi’s pictures move beyond the physical facts; as his muse, Guinevere inspires Roversi to create images that are both abstract meditations on the alchemy of beauty as well as intimate studies. Whether wearing haute couture or photographed nude, Guinevere’s allure is palpable. The sum of the pictures’ parts results in unconventional, often provocative portraits.
Like Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, Roversi’s photographs eloquently bridge the spheres of commercial photography and fine art: they are as successful on a magazine’s pages as they are on a gallery or museum’s walls. At the invitation of Elle’s art director Peter Knapp, Roversi moved to Paris in 1972 where he established a reputation as one of fashion’s pre-eminent photographers. In 1980, Roversi began using Polaroid’s instant 8 x 10 film and it soon became his preferred format. As adventurous technically as he is aesthetically, Roversi has made Polaroid, gelatin silver, dye transfer, carbon and pigment prints.
Paolo Roversi (b. 1947, Ravenna, Italy) has lived and worked in Paris for over 35 years. His work has been the subject of numerous monographs, including Nudi (Editions Stromboli, Paris: 1999), Paolo Roversi: Libretto (Steidl, Göttingen: 2000), and Studio (Steidl, Göttingen and Editions Stromboli, Paris: 2002). Roversi has led advertising campaigns for Cerruti, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Valentino, and his work has been published in an international array of print media such as Arena, Harper's Bazaar, I-D, Interview, Marie-Claire, The New York Times Magazine, Italian and British Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, and W.