Art News

Guy Bourdin @ Somerset house London

The glossy and troubling world of the French photographer is explored at Somerset House this winter. 

Provocative, surreal and instantly recognisable: the work of Guy Bourdin marks a high point in twentieth century fashion photography, turning editorial and advertising imagery into something rich and strange. Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of his work, charting his 40 year career from protégé of Man Ray to photography revolutionary.

Trained as a painter, Bourdin became a protégé of the surrealist artist Man Ray in the 1950s, and began to explore photography. He first appeared in Vogue Paris in 1955. At the time, fashion photography was mainly illustrative, occasionally witty, always appealing. It was also largely monochrome. Bourdin set about upsetting most of these conventions, but his greatest leap in the language of fashion imagery was a basic one: color.

The exhibition also features a selection of paintings, working drawings, sketches and notebooks, not seen in the UK before, which inform his approach as an compositional image-maker and meticulous draughtsman.  A highlight is the ‘Walking Legs’ series - a campaign commissioned by Charles Jourdan in 1979 exhibited in its entirety for the first time with a yet unseen accompanying fashion film.


27 November 2014 – 15 March 2015
Daily 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.15)
Until 21.00 Thursdays (Last admission 20.15)
31 December 10.00-16.00, 1 January 12.00-18.00
Embankment Galleries, South Wing
£9.00, £7.00 concessions

Somerset House Trust
South Building
Somerset House

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