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Mario Testino: Somos Libres

For the past two decades we have come to understand the world of Mario Testino through his photography, images that have come to indelibly define the landscapes of celebrity, fashion, advertising. While the images Testino collects with the camera are known to the world, the art that he collects for himself has remained private. Now for the first time, the public will have access to this lesser known side of Mario Testino in a show that narrates the interest and inspiration he has found in the world of contemporary art. The “Somos Libres” exhibit includes works by established artists such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Paul McCarthy alongside works by emerging artists, and peruvian artists Miguel Andrade Valdez y Jose Carlos Martinat.

“Somos Libres” is presented as a personal journey through this world. It tells the story of one person’s quest to find acquire and identify themselves in work other than their own. Many of the elements familiar from Testino’s own practice are reflected in the work he collects. “Somos Libres” presents these works, not in terms of the canons of the new in contemporary art, but for the qualities – freedom of expression, spirit, humor and provocation – that originally captured Testino’s imagination and opened his eyes to them.

This exhibit will describe multiple journeys. Wall texts, graphics and other guides will provide insight into the inclination and curiosity that led Mario Testino to the works themselves. Large-scale studio portraits tell the story of his encounter with the artists within their own creative environments, while wall murals will reveal the way in which the works have been presented in his various spaces. The result will be an intimate journey – an exhibition that reflects a unique vision and open eyes to new concepts. “Somos Libres” is shown at MATE, in Lima - Peru.

Mario Testino: Alta Moda

For its second exhibition since opening in July 2012, MATE presents a new, large body of work by its founder, Mario Testino. The exhibition Alta Moda – literally “high fashion” in Spanish – will open April 20th 2013. This series of photographic portraits of Peruvians wearing traditional and festive attire from the mountai-nous region of Cusco represents a bold departure for Testino from his work for fashion magazines.

To create Alta Moda, Testino made several trips to Cusco city over a five-year period after discovering an archive of costumes from the region. Equally inspired by the history of Peruvian photography, Testino worked closely with Martin Chambi’s grandchildren and used recreated backdrops from the archive of the late Peruvian photographer. While Alta Moda appears to reference the tradition of ethnographic photography, Testino has, in fact, captured several stories within each photograph.

“I usually try to capture the moment” says Testino. “But with this series, I wanted to do something very dierent – not just with my own work but also with the practice of photography. I tried to fit as much time and history into each frame as possible – from the traditional and festive clothing to the Chambi backdrops to the Peruvian people in them. Alta Moda is quite dierent from the portraits I am perhaps best known for.”

Testino goes on to say “I am delighted with the reaction to this exhibition and pleased that we are also working on a tour for Alta Moda to exhibit the show inter-nationally. After this opening at MATE, Alta Moda will be exhibited in New York in the fall of 2013. I would also like to extend our gratitude to our exhibition and institutional partners, Shamrock, Banco de Credito del Peru and Prom Peru for their valued support of MATE and Alta Moda.”

This exhibition will reinforce the mission statement of this cultural institution, which was established to promote and celebrate Peruvian art and artists, both locally and internationally, and permanently host the work of its founder, Mario Testino.

Traditional women’s dress. Province of Espinar

Cusco, Perú 2007
Qhapaq qolla dance costume. District and province of Paucartambo

Cusco, Perú 2010
Female character of the Saqra dance. Province of Paucartambo

Cusco, Perú 2010
Traditional women’s dress. District of Tinta, province of Canchis.

Cusco, Perú 2007
Traditional women’s dress. Rural community of Chahuaytire, district of Pisac, province of Calca.

Cusco, Perú 2012
Dance leader of the Auqa Chileno dance and his lady. Province of Paucartambo.

Cusco, Perú 2012
Mario Testino: Todo o Nada

The exhibition, Todo o Nada, first shown at the prestigious Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid in 2010, brings together 54 photographs that interweave two intrinsically opposed subjects explored throughout the work of Mario Testino: fashion and the nude; combining images created for renowned magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, V Magazine, Allure and The Face and unpublished photographs especially taken for this exhibition.

Mario Testino explores the fascination and implications the act of undressing has upon the spectator: “a voyage from haute couture to nudity, including the intermediary process that implies baring the form.” In a game of perceptions he presents the viewer two opposite poles, the magnificent gown and the nude as a manifestation of artifice and nature, fashion and erotism; in between poles, precisely, is where desire comes afloat and traps the eye. Hence, Todo o Nada represents an arbitrary duality in which not only Todo is dressed and Nada is naked, but also Nada is dressed and Todo, naked. In Testino’s nude theatricality is just as present, only cunning.

Evoking deliberate actions behind the camera, Todo o Nada also examines the relationship between the photographer and his female models, inciting the viewer to peek into the backstage, beyond the artifice and the photographer’s intent. In response, the exhibition offers images in which Testino has captured his models in a free-spirited and candid moment, bringing down backdrops and staged poses to create a new perceived freedom. His personages -and photography itself- appear breaking free from repression and social conventions, rebelling from the theatrical saturation imposed on them by fashion and glamour. Testino artistically masters this illusion to allow us into the gates where seduction reigns.

Todo o Nada is a tribute to “Testino’s woman”, an iconic image of woman that he has defined and redefined over the course of his career, a woman who moves at totally opposing poles: “I like strong, independent women. Women who, despite their strength, never lose their femininity and who do not use their beauty as a tool. Women with personality who can reflect their own desires and ours.”

Gisele Bündchen
New York, 2009
Kate Moss
London, 2008
Lara Stone
London, 2009
Doutzen Kroes
New York, 2008
Kirsten Dunst
New York, 2009
Daria Werbowy
Los Angeles, 2004
Sienna Miller
Rome, 2007
Gemma Ward
Los Angeles, 2004
Claudia Schiffer
Paris, 2008
Patricia Schmid
Paris, 2006
Natalia Voldianova
Cannes, 2007
Mario Testino: In Your Face

Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, USA
October 21, 2012 - February 3, 2013
Ann and Graham Gund Gallery

For his first exhibition in the US, photographer Mario Testino presents some of his most exquisitely styled images taken over three decades of artistic career and contribution to fashion magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

For this retrospective exhibition, Testino has chosen images that provide an insight into some of today’s most elusive and exclusive subjects; from international superstars such as models Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen, actors Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow, musicians Mick Jagger, Madonna and Lady Gaga, to world-famous athletes David Beckham and Tom Brady.

In Your Face recreates the photographer’s world and milieu -formal portraits juxtaposed with personal snapshots taken in the moment. Nudes with fashion, black and white with colour and interiors with exterior settings are presented as provocative visual stories that capture the interplay of mass media, celebrity, and glamour, and offer the viewer a new understanding of Testino’s aesthetic contributions to fashion and photography.

Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits

Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, USA
October 21, 2012 - June 16, 2013
Herb Ritts Gallery

Shortly after photographer Mario Testino went to England from his native Peru in 1976, he took his first photograph of British royalty, an impromptu shot of The Queen Mother and her grandson, Prince Edward, as they passed by crowds gathered in London’s streets to celebrate the marriage of HRH the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. It was the first of many photographs Testino has taken of members of the House of Windsor during the course of his significant career.

This exhibition showcases images of the royal family, from the iconic shoot with Diana, Princess of Wales for Vanity fair to Prince Charles and their sons, William and Harry, and, most recently, the engagement portraits of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

This will be the first US showing of many of these photographs, which are among the many personal favourites Testino has chosen for this unique exhibition.