Roses, Photo Paintings
Hours 12:00 – 19:00
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
The Mass is pleased to present Nick Knight’s first solo exhibition in Japan.
For the past four decades Nick Knight has consistently challenged the standards of beauty and, as a result, is celebrated as one of the world’s most influential and visionary photographers working today. His groundbreaking creative collaborations with leading designers including Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano, Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen, alongside his vanguard advertising campaigns for prestigious clients such as Dior, Shiseido, Tom Ford, McQueen or Nike have secured him as a major figure in fine art and fashion.
Alongside his success commercial career, Knight has a rather more personal side of his practice that is demonstrative of a constant desire to experiment and challenge himself. In ‘Still’, Knight brings this somewhat more private work to Tokyo, in three distinct bodies of work: ‘Flora’, ‘Roses, Photo Paintings’ and ‘Roses From My Garden’ which are all exceptional examples of Knight’s restless journey with aesthetic margins. Unlike the images of flowers we are used to seeing, Knight’s compositions are balanced, harmonious compositions that move us to think about the innate power of nature and its fleeting beauty.
In contrast to his paired back ‘Flora’ compositions, Knight’s ‘Roses, Photo Paintings’ series is positively opulent. This body of work, while taking its roots from 16th century still life painting, is a true hybrid; literally part photograph, part painting. To create them, Knight introduces heat and water during the printing process to make the color run. It’s a dynamic, physical process that took him and master-printer Allan Finamore ten years to perfect. These wonderfully balanced and seductive, large-scale still lives have a stunning romanticism as major washes of color rip though traditional compositions that are anchored by antique vases, of the formal trappings of flower paintings. Stunning, joyous highlights push against the deep angst of darker areas. Knight pulls on the history of vanitas painting, encapsulating the fragility of a rose’s life cycle both in the composition and the medium; the roses are dying, the paint is dripping. He is documenting a moment slipping from our grasp.
As the first show outside of the UK to exhibit these bodies of work together, ‘Still’ lends insight into Knight’s relentless desire to find and capture new versions of beauty and new visions of the familiar.
Nick Knight OBE (b. 1958) is a British fashion photographer who is also founder and director of SHOWstudio.com. He is an honorary professor at University of the Arts, London and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the same university. For the last forty years, Nick has shot award-winning images for commercial and editorial purposes. His groundbreaking creative collaborations with leading designers including Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano, Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen, alongside his vanguard advertising campaigns for prestigious clients such as Dior, Lancôme, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein or Yves Saint Laurent have helped to make him a household name in both fine art and fashion.
His stories in British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another, Another Man, i-D and W magazine have all pushed the industry past the classic parameters of fashion photography, while his award winning music videos for Björk, Lady Gaga and Kanye West have firmly established Knight as an eminent Director and Image Maker. His first book of photographs ‘Skinheads’ was published in 1982, winning a D&AD award in 1996. He then went on to published ‘Nicknight’, a twelve year retrospective of his work, and ‘Flora’, a series of inimitable still lives, both published by Schirmer/Mosel. His latest book, entitled ‘Nick Knight’, was published by HarperCollins in 2009. His work has been exhibited at such international art institutions as the Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, Saatchi Gallery, the Photographers’ Gallery, Hayward Gallery, the Daelim Museum, and the Gagosian Gallery.
© Nick Knight, Rose VI, 2012