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Teller on Mapplethorpe, London

“I wanted to find someone to look at Robert’s work afresh, and I felt that it had to be someone whose main medium was photography, but who is viewed as an artist – not just a commercial photographer … Juergen immediately came to mind.” When gallerist Alison Jacques decided to celebrate what would have been the iconic American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s 70th birthday, she knew of only one other artist who could do his works justice. As the sole UK representative of artist’s estate, Jacques sought the eye of photographer Juergen Teller to curate a selection of Mapplethorpe’s iconic black and white prints and Polaroids from his prolific archives. “Juergen as a contemporary artist has a very current following and if, through his fan base … we can introduce Robert’s work to a younger generation then I think that Robert would be very happy about that,” explains Jacques.

Teller was given free reign over Mapplethorpe’s collection, and his selections showcase the scope of Mapplethorpe’s subject matter and medium, from those unsettling live frogs captured on silver gelatin prints, to his intimate 1982 portrait of actress Madeline Stowe. “[Mapplethorpe] was a brave artist,” says Jacques, “In the sense that, like all artists who actually count at the end of the day, they do something unique that matters when you look back in time.” Teller on Mapplethorpe will be showing at the Alison Jacques Gallery, London, from November 17, 2016 until January 7, 2017.