Robert Mapplethorpe often said that if he had been born in an earlier era, he would have been a sculptor. “Photography is a very quick way to see, to make sculpture.”
Once he started making photographs, he sought out well-proportioned models and choreographed their poses with an obsessive attention to detail.
In his later figural compositions, he used lighting and occasionally makeup to render skin as if it were marble or bronze.
Mapplethorpe often departed from conventional gender depictions and was interested in androgynous physiques.
While his nude figure studies appear to be the cool and distanced observations of a photographer who prized perfection in form above all else, they fuse a classical sensibility with a palpable sexual tension.
He would have been a sculptor...
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