The moment you recognise a face, it disrupts the picture. JOHN STEZAKER
Sensual, luminous and intimate are not words that I’d often use to describe the Fine Art Nudes of many contemporary male artists. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself using these words easily today to describe the impressive and innovative pair of nudes by last year’s winner of the Deutsche Börse prize, British conceptual artist and master of collage, John Stezaker, which are currently on display in an intimate room at the Contemporary Art Society, 59 Central Street, London, EC1V 3AF. The pair of images titled Fall XII and Fall XIII; both 1992, were bought for York Art Gallery through the Contemporary Art Society Acquisition Scheme, 2012, with support from the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The images are displayed alongside a small selection of works from York’s collection, including two oil paintings by William Etty and a photographic emulsion on plywood by Helen Chadwick.
John Stezaker’s images reflects a unique artistic purpose. John uses parts of two different pictures to create a collage that tells a unique story. These pair of images reflects his signature style and are inspired by Arthur Thomspson’s book, ‘Anatomy for Art Students.’ With fine Art nudes, my view is that less is always very much more. The nude as subject matter, is best translated or represented as nature intended, with minimal frippery. The great thing about John’s Fall XII and XIII is that there intimate scale and minimal production values allow the images to speak for themselves, immediately grabbing and holding there viewer’s attention. Irrespective of there modest dimensions, you feel that you are witnessing something quite spectacular. The fact that the images does not acknowledge the viewer gives them a voyeuristic feel and arouses your imagination as a viewer. Depending on who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going, you may find your self filling in the blanks with your own compelling drama. For me, it tells the story of sensuality and it tells it well. I felt a sense of calmness from the photographs. And you may feel something completely different from me. This is what marks a great work of art. It should trigger our imagination.
Excellent composition, great expression and a unique vision, Fall XII and XIII stands out as the work of a very confident and talented Fine Artist. The images underscore John Stezaker’s command of the nude. I absolutely loved the simplicity of the images and would highly recommend that you go and see it. As a fine art photographer, I came away from seeing the images refreshed and inspired.
John Stezaker will be discussing his work at the Contemporary Art Society on 12 September. His images will be on display at the Contemporary Art Society until 4 October.
Images find me rather than the other way round. JOHN STEZAKER