Yesterday's post looked at an artist who took an almost paganistic approach to nature and its relationship to that spiritual, even divine, essence that defines the living world. Today's post concerns an artist whose work retains a relationship with the natural world, but one that is defined specifically within the visceral, the material and corporeal. Denis Piel captures that essence of beauty, desire and symbolism that is resolutely human.
Denis Piel grew up in a family at the centre of the Parisian post-war avant-garde. He learned his trade throughout the 1970s, taking pictures for Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire and the New York Times. It was while living in New York in the 1980s that Piel became one of fashion's most sought-after photographers, working predominantly for Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. Hugely influenced by the golden age of cinema, Piel has photographed some of the twentieth century's most recognisable female icons, from Lillian Gish to Joan Didion to Donna Karan.
For this new exhibition of work, Piel presents a range of photographs from his commercial and artistic portfolios. The common theme through these works is to deconstruct the 'feminine' within fashion photography. The question that Piel asks is: 'What comprises the female fashion image?', and the response is an exploration of the body, the garment, the location, the face, the accessory, and many more aspects besides. Exhibitions by Piel in London are rare. Take this opportunity while you can.
Denis Piel: Essence is at Kenny Schachter/ROVE from this Thursday, 11 April, until 09 May.