Martin Schoeller20.06.2020 - 29.08.2020
The exhibition presents a selection of new portraits from Martin Schoeller’s legendary »Close Up« series for the first time worldwide. The selection includes famous international personalities such as Metallica, Michael Douglas, Toni Garrn, Anne Hathaway, Kobe Bryant, George Clooney, and Michael Jordan in a unique and incomparable visual language. A comprehensive photobook entitled »Works« was published by Steidl this year.
Martin Schoeller levels people from various backgrounds on the same platform, inviting comparison in a democratizing approach to portraiture that depicts famous subjects such as Robert De Niro or Christopher Walken with the same technical treatment. Schoeller started his »Close Up« series over 22 years ago. The exhibition showcases works created since 2005, when CAMERA WORK hosted his first »Close Up« exhibition. In this series the German artist photographs each of his subjects’ faces with the same camera angle, lens, and lighting. The expressions are consistently neutral, serious yet relaxed, in an attempt to tease out people’s differences and capture moments »that feel intimate, unposed.« Just like in a trusting relationship, the portrayed individuals accept the photographer’s rules, which have lent to his unique style that became a trademark around the world. These rules, for example, include the minimal utilization of make-up as well as doing without beauty or skin touch-up in post-production. The result is a more vulnerable, mask-less form of expression, enabling an easier study of faces and personalities.
Born in Munich in 1968, Martin Schoeller is one of the most renowned and preeminent contemporary portrait photographers. After studying photography in Berlin at the prestigious Lette-Verein and in Hamburg, he assisted as Annie Leibovitz in New York for four years before starting to focus exclusively on his own photography in 1996. Martin Schoeller is a regular contributor to acclaimed publications and, like Richard Avedon before him, served as a contract editorial photographer for »The New Yorker«. His first book »Close Up« (teNeues) was published in 2005, followed by several fine art books that showcase other facets of Schoeller’s work. Editions of his photography are sought-after in the fine art market and are exhibited in museums and art institutions around the world. The Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam hosted a retrospective in 2018 and NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf is presenting a retrospective until September 2020.