Fashion

Get Undressed With Mario Testino's Latest Exhibit and Book

by Allysha Nila
09.05.2017
The photographer explores the intimacy of body and dress with a new photographic series being exhibited at the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin, and a book published by Taschen.
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"Is this another book on nudity?" Well, yes... and no. Sure, it features some nipple and pubic hair here and there but Mario Testino's latest work (at least not for this series) isn't pornographic. If anything, it captures the allure of the naked body and the tension between being clothed and unclothed. 

In addition to the 50 photographs featured in the Taschen-published book, Testino's Undressed series will also be exhibited at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin — the series of photographs are an homage to the iconic photographer, Helmut Newton. These include previously unpublished photos shot in the Testino studio, stills of supermodels Kate Moss and Amber Valletta, and plenty of controversial photographs, such as a young man shaving a woman’s upper pubic hair in a luxurious bathroom.

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Both Testino and Newton have often been accused of perpetuating misogyny and female objectification through their fashion imagery. Testino, along with long-time collaborator Carine Roitfeld, rose to prominence with shocking ads for the Tom Ford-helmed Gucci in the 1990s, the most controversial featuring a model fawning over another with a G-shaped landing strip. Newton developed his signature by borrowing fetish elements: plenty of his subjects wore corsets, thigh-high boots and stockings, used ropes, were tied up, and often the women flashed their breasts.

Perhaps both artists were merely exploring the different forms of strength of female sexuality — or maybe they really were degrading women? You decide.

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There's more. The book is accompanied by an introduction by curator Matthias Harder, a candid conversation piece with Carine Roitfeld, and a captivating essay from psychiatrist and psychologist Manfred Spitzer, who offers a neuroscientific perspective on our visual perception of bodies and beauty. 

So it's not just a coffee book to flip through. It really is a think piece.

Mario Testino: Undressed will be released on 2 June - pre-order a copy now at Taschen. The exhibition will run from 3 June to 19 November 2017 at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin.

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