SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) — A solo exhibition highlighting American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) has kicked off, bringing below some of his most legendary still controversial functions that have activated debates on art and censorship for many years.

Mapplethorpe, who was energetic in New York City in the 1970s and 80s, is recognized for his is effective that made use of diverse mediums of pictures like collages, Polaroids and silver gelatin but far more for the objects and folks he photographed — girls, Black adult men and the community queer local community — and the way he framed them.

While some of his operates were highlighted as element of other exhibitions, “Robert Mapplethorpe: More Lifetime” that opened Thursday is the initial exhibition in South Korea that only focuses on the boundary-breaking photographer, in accordance to Kukje Gallery that is keeping the exhibitions in both Seoul and Busan.

The gallery space in Seoul is divided into two floors.

A violet wall carrying his self portrait — a photograph of Mapplethorpe’s suitable hand in a striped shirt crafting the word “Pics” — greets visitors on the 1st ground. Titled “Sacred and Profane,” the home places together his black-and-white portraits of American celebs like punk icon Patti Smith, actor Richard Gere and novelist Truman Capote. His nonetheless existence pics of bouquets, fruit and statues that are offered beneath aesthetically-controlled lighting and composition are also displayed in this article.

A disclaimer is visible on the stairway to the 2nd ground titled “The Dark Space,” warning guests that the featured will work may perhaps carry sexually graphic written content. Like the initially floor, the 2nd ground also commences with yet another self portrait — this time a photograph of his ideal hand in punk apparel also composing the phrase “Pics.”

The shots on the inner walls of the next ground exhibition house assemble his extra controversial functions themed on New York City’s marginalized and underground subcultures. Much more visually potent will work, this kind of as the infamous “X Portfolio” sequence, are shown on the outer wall.

They include photographs of secretive S&M rituals, gentlemen hanging upside down on thick metallic chains as properly as a provocative self-portrait of himself wherever he uncannily gazes into the digicam with a bullwhip inserted in his rectum.

The Busan venue, in the meantime, zooms in on the many photographic procedures and supplies Mapplethorpe explored, this sort of as silver gelatin, Cibachrome and dye transfer shade prints.

Lee Yong-woo, a liberal arts professor at Seoul-based Sogang College who curated the exhibition, voiced hope that the exhibition will be a message to pandemic-strike modern society to embrace lifestyle and its variety extra.

“The cultural introspection that Mapplethorpe’s pictures could set off is immensely large, like how we should issue the position quo where by we simply attempt to uncover and observe down a scapegoat … I hope viewing Mapplethorpe’s images will present a possibility for the viewers to check with these inquiries,” said Lee, referring to the new coronavirus outbreak at nightclubs in Seoul’s Itaewon space that experienced stirred criticism towards the queer neighborhood.

As part of such intention, Lee explained that the two walls located at the commence of the exhibition areas in Seoul have been specially painted violet in hope that it will ship a information of inclusivity to the neighborhood LGBTQ neighborhood.

The professor, who claimed deciding upon the exhibition title was one particular of the most difficult sections of the curation, said “Far more Life” came from the traces of American playwright Tony Kushner’s 1991 perform “Angels in America” that depicts the 1980s The united states likely through an AIDS crisis.

“We will not die solution fatalities any longer. The environment only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has arrive. Bye now. You are magnificent creatures, just about every and each and every just one. And I bless you: Far more Life. The terrific get the job done starts.”

When requested about whether or not the gallery regarded as possessing an age limit for the audience, a gallery official stated it concluded not to do so as it goes from the spirit of the exhibition’s curation in which both of those the sacred and profane are included in the boundary of artwork.

As a substitute, assistants will be present on the second ground to separately information website visitors on the content of the showcased photographs on the 2nd flooring.

The exhibition operates at Kukje Gallery venues in Seoul and Busan until March 28.

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