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Guy Bourdin: postmodern surfaces « Previous | |Next »
April 04, 2004

On the surface advertising images are often fashion shots of classy goods (shoes) for fashion magazines, such as French Vogue during the 1960s and 1970s.

BourdinG.jpg
Guy Bourdin

Bourdin's images are seen as breaking new ground in fashion photography. Bourdin was avant garde in the 1960s-70s. Consequently, Bourdin's work is influential within fashion photography
MeisalS.jpg
Steven Meisel, Yves Saint Laurent Opium (Nipple), model Sophie Dahl

Thus we have a consumer culture that is self-referential as well as intertextual and ironic. So we edge increasingly towards a postmodern market. This is a world (postmodernity) where aesthetics and economics dance hand in hand.

Yet there is more than surface with Bourdin. When we look at the Bourdin image we wonder if something else is happening around sexual desire.Somethign other. Is the women dead perhaps? Or are we looking at a mannequin? There is just a suggestion or a hint of something not quite right. It is hard to put one's finger on what is off-putting.

Sometimes what is off-putting is made a tad more explict:

BourdinG4.jpg
G. Bourdin, shoes and plugs, 1975

It is death. Sex and death.

The self-destruction of sexual desire is very Bataillean, is it not?

So the critical edge has not entirely disappeared from consumer culture.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 08:46 PM | | Comments (0)
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