18. 2. 2011 - 3. 4. 2011
A main event in the Leica Gallery Prague, the exhibition “Not Only Women”, brings to the Czech Republic the most intense and significant portraits of women realized by Michel Comte. Over the course of his thirty year career, Comte has photographed the most important cinema celebrities but also those from the fashion, theatre, music and art. And it recounts who were, who are and who will be the women of our times. The project is presented under the auspices of the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Czech Republic.
The exhibition is organised in cooperation with Vernon Gallery. A main event in the Leica Gallery Prague and Vernon Gallery brings approximately sixty images by one of the greatest contemporary photographers and portraitists – Michel Comte. Geraldine Chaplin said of him “he is a knight errant of photography: a vagabond, an adventurer, a nomad with a camera”.
His career has taken him all over the world to carry out publicity campaigns for famous brands – Gianfranco Ferré, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Versace, etc – that have made him one of the most sought after fashion photographers on an international level. But to make him unique is his capacity to portray faces and bodies, of which he is an insatiable and untiring hunter.
“Not only Women” arises from an assumption that all too often the fashion portrait, in particular the female one, only has to be studied from iconographic and stylistic points of view. Michel Comte overturns this assumption. On the contrary, his shots are not limited to being plastic-aesthetic interpretations or to being well planned out performances, where the protagonists are women. In pursuing stylistic perfection, Comte delves into the intimacy of the female subject. He takes sharp, female images of faces and bodies that stand out against neutral backgrounds. Or compositions where the background becomes an integral part of the foreground, feeding on the light and on hints of surfaces, thereby coming alive. The women he photographs are never objects, but always the subjects and, with his art, the photographer succeeds in transforming contemporary femininity into icons.
Nudes, portraits of models, actresses and artists, amongst some of the most significant that Comte has taken throughout his career, are on show. Amongst others: Verushka, Iman, Wallis Montana, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni (the famous nudes taken by the artist of France’s First Lady), Laetitia Casta, Giselle Bündchen, Louise Bourgeois, Sophia Coppola, Catherine Deneuve, Isabella Rossellini, Sharon Stone, Sophia Loren, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Sandra Bernhard, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston.
Photographer Michel Comte was born in Zurich in 1954. In 1978, his first international works are commissioned: advertising campaigns for the fashion houses of Ungaro and Chloe. A year later, he moves to Paris and from there in 1981 he leaves for New York collaborating with “Vogue America”. From the early 1990’s, he becomes one of the most sought after fashion and portraits photographers on the planet. He creates advertising campaigns for famous brands such as Nike, Versace, Revlon, Lancôme, Hennessy, Davidoff Cool Water, Swatch, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Jaguar. He follows the Ferrari Formula 1 team for years on racing circuits and photographs Michael Schumacher. Nevertheless, his aktivity does not end with portraits and fashion. In fact, in time he dedicates time to photo reportages, travelling in the world’s “hot spots“: Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tibet and Cambodia. A great number of his photo reportages are commissioned by the Red Cross International Committee, others are created for his Water Foundation. Many are books published during his career. (tato věta by měla správně být asi: Many books have been publisher during his carer.)
© Michel Comte Estate / I-management SA
A catalogue in English and accompanying program will be presented. All photos are for sale. Viewings at the Vernon Gallery can be arranged with a prior phone arrangement on phone No +420 773 915 501.
An Exclusive and a Project by:
Serena Baccaglini, Alessandro Luigi Perna
Exhibition curated by: Serena Baccaglini
Co-curator: Maurizio Vanni
Scientific Coordination: Alessandro Luigi Perna
Copyright: Michel Comte Estate/ I-Management SA