“Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar.” (Helmut Newton)
This time, I’m not sending you off to Milan, to Aosta Valley, or, for that matter, to France. If this fall you feel a little blue and you’re longing for some color and some spice, get to the Ligurian Sea. You might enjoy the brand new Helmut Newton Exhibition housed by Palazzo Ducale in Genova from September 9th, 2016 to January 22nd, 2017.
The display includes some 200 shots taken by the (in)famous German-Australian photographer, belonging to his “White Women”, “Sleepless Nights”, and “Big Nudes” collections, published at the end of the 70’s and among the exquisite few handpicked by the King of Kink himself. The exhibit was put together with the help of the artist’s wife and long-term collaborator, June Newton (important to postmodern photography by herself, under the name of Alice Springs). Highly erotic and provocative at the time, Newton’s photography would seem quite bland to the contemporary museum-goers, were it not for his penchant for turning decent folk into shameless voyeurs, bent on prying upon the most secretive of secrets: taboos.
I remember my first encounter with his photography – quite a few years back, when I was a fresh Erasmus student at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, attending the first lectures of a course entitled “Introduction to Visual Culture”. The professor was in the habit of shocking us out of our prudery and mental rigidity, mostly by introducing new topics by means of showing us controversial pieces of art. Thus, we were presented Newton’s scandalous – at the time – “Bergstrom Over Paris” and were given a thorough initiation into fascinating concepts such as the gaze (usually male, as history taught us), objectification, fetishism, the (ab)use of aesthetic conventions, the construction of the image and, last but not the least, contextualization. No Photoshop tool was mentioned that day.
WHERE: Palazzo Ducale, Piazza Mateotti 9, Genova
WHEN: from September 9th, 2016 to January 22nd, 2017
HOW MUCH: full price €11; reduced €9 for disabled people and for those aged from 19 to 27 years old; reduced €4 for children aged from 6 to 14 years old and every Friday for the under 27; free admission for children under 6.