It has always been a thin gossamer veil when art and fashion cross or mingle into a full-fledged phenomenon. Tearing through that veil is renowned Paris photographer, Maurice RENOMA, presenting his latest photographs for his solo exhibition MODOGRAPHE (fashionographer). This mash up of terms is solidly supported by images that are avant-garde, clever, insouciant, and sensual – visually a cacophony of pleasure. AF came with both an eye for art and the fashion streak that made the opening last November 14th – simply fabulous!
The image that solidified my choice to review this show was one iconic photograph featuring two stellar legends. James Dean et Marilyn Monroe (2012) in gray scale featured the two Hollywood legends that died way too soon in a very Renaissance themed Jesus at the crucifix composition. Marilyn is kneeling in front of a crucified James Dean while on the far left is the car crash aftermath that took his life. Icons may be immortal but they left this world not exempt from the equalizer called death. This juxtaposition of themes with a nod to religious scenes came into play with the punk rock version of The Last Supper (2011) featuring Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, and the denizens of the anti-establishment genre ( A double flipping the bird says it all). The mash up continues with some political animals suited elegantly Savile Row style but we know the politicos can literally be jackasses (therefore a donkey head). The digitally altered photos of animal heads over humans retain an elegance of high fashion pictures comparable to Horst P. Horst (who incidentally photographed the famous Marilyn Monroe image with her sitting barefoot and in a white strapless gown). The chromo blasted color photography was electrified and even in the odd combinations, mismatched heads and bodies like Grandpa in a sexy female body, that RENOMA still translated a regal undertone.
What is the role of a fashionographer? Does he tell the story and history of time with couture narratives? Real fashion photography is about letting the clothes still shine because it needs to sell. RENOMA does more than peddle the idea of luxe artistic fabulousity. There are clever bits that touch on the fragile façade of the artifice and what we consider about beauty. Jolie Laide is a French term, which literally translates as “ugly beautiful” and these two opposing ideas when done skillfully by an artist such as RENOMA that is it is perfectly sublime and telling of our time. Perfection gets trite after a while but odd beauty stays with you longer. The reason it does because it haunts your memory and brings out the hidden thoughts or desires over a lifetime. Now that will never go out of style and always be chic.
MAURICE RENOMA: MODOGRAPHE / On View: Nov. 14 – Dec. 14, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm)
Bertrand Delacroix Gallery. 535 West 25th Street. NYC, NY 10001
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Selected Art Images from Bertrand Delacroix Gallery courtesy of the artist
Photography by: Max Noy Photo