Erik Madigan Heck: Giorgio Armani, Without A Face, 2018

Photography Exhibition: Erik Madigan Heck

Fashion photography is such a beautiful art form especially as seen through the lens of Erik Madigan Heck, a contemporary American photographer whom I’ve featured on this blog previously.

How I wish I were able to be in Zurich this Spring/Summer to visit the Old Futures exhibition of Erik Madigan Heck’s work, on at the Christophe Guye Galerie, May 4 2018 to August 25, 2018.

These words, from the introduction to the exhibition – click here to read more – reference just a few of the points of interest to be found in Heck’s work:

Erik Madigan Heck (*1983) is one of the youngest and most promising American fashion photographers of the contemporary art scene. In his relatively short career the artist [has] developed a personal way of looking at fashion, as Nathalie Herschdorfer underlines in her essay “Minimal and pure: Erik Madigan Heck fashion photographs”. His work is characterized by a clear and distinctive treatment of colours and patterns, which makes it unequivocal.

“… No longer regarded as frivolous, fashion photography has been elevated to the status of an art form.

Erik Madigan Heck’s visual language is quite amazing in that sense. In a relatively short career, he has developed a very personal way of looking at fashion. A glance at his book, Old Future – published this year by Thames & Hudson – reveals a clear and distinctive treatment of colours and patterns that form his signature. The series reproduced here was published in April 2017 in the New York Times Magazine. It was Heck’s own idea to produce a fashion portfolio on Comme des Garçons to accompany the launch of Rei Kawakubo’s recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a magazine that would normally exclude fashion pages. Again, this is an example of Heck’s unique approach: to work with a non-fashion magazine and focus on Kawakubo’s work – a designer who strives to go beyond fashion and express ‘abstract images’ rather than simply design clothes.

Heck received support from both the New York Times Magazine and Comme des Garçons to photograph six pieces from the Fall 2017 collection. Minimal and pure, the colours in Heck’s photographs resonate with the palette of Rei Kawakubo’s clothes. Called Future of Silhouette, the series pushes fashion photography to a new extent … Heck’s photographs push the concept to new limits, creating imagery that goes beyond traditional fashion photography. Meticulously constructed and enhanced with bright colours, blurring the line between the clothes and the background, his images play with this idea of ‘future’ silhouettes.

Heck … would surely agree that fashion photography is the younger sister of modern art. In the 20th century, photographers commonly stepped from the art world into fashion. Edward Steichen was, together with Alfred Stieglitz, the founder of the journal Camera Work, playing an active role in New York’s 291 gallery where modern art was first exhibited in the early 1900s; Man Ray and Erwin Blumenfeld were closely connected with Dadaist painters; George Hoyningen-Huene was a student with artists André Lhote and Man Ray; William Klein studied with painters André Lhote and Fernand Léger; Horst P. Horst was an assistant to architect Le Corbusier and worked with Salvador Dali. Heck too says he has always looked to painting as a guide to using colours. Among his influences, he doesn’t name photographers, but painters such as Edouard Vuillard, Edgar Degas, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas and Gerhard Richter. For Heck, ‘art is a continuum you are meant to build from.’”

Beautiful photography and a must-see for arts-interested visitors to Zürich this summer.

Old Futures exhibition of Erik Madigan Heck’s work, Christophe Guye Galerie, 4 May 2018 to August 25 2018.

Erik Madigan Heck: The Red Shoes, 2014
Erik Madigan Heck: The Red Shoes, 2014
Erik Madigan Heck: Honeycomb, 2015
Erik Madigan Heck: Honeycomb, 2015
Erik Madigan Heck: Without A Face (Red), 2013
Erik Madigan Heck: Without A Face (Red), 2013
Erik Madigan Heck: Without A Face (Ann DeMeulemeester), 2013
Erik Madigan Heck: Without A Face (Ann DeMeulemeester), 2013
Erik Madigan Heck: Giorgio Armani, Without A Face, 2018
Erik Madigan Heck: Giorgio Armani, Without A Face, 2018

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