Portfolio: Christian Tagliavini
Sunday 30 October 2011
His are classically formal portraits of the Mannerist style, elegant exemplars of the courtly Medici ideal of the 16th century, his subjects as haughty as they are assured of their position in society. He was Agnolo di Cosimo, known as Il Bronzino, and his work influenced European court portraiture for a century. Not to mention one Swiss-Italian photographer more than half a millennium later...
For his latest exhibition, that photographer, Christian Tagliavini, recreates the intense level of artistry present in the original works while creating a gallery that is a playful homage to art history. The exhibition, called Cut Out and Keep, takes in two projects – 1503 (the year of Di Cosimo's birth, and whose frame of reference is the Renaissance) and Dame di Cartone (encompassing eras from the 17th century to the Cubists).
Where Il Bronzino offered austere likenesses that lay themselves open to speculation about the sitter, their rank and reputation, Tagliavini's depictions are deliberately engineered to eschew any notion of three-dimensional character. Deliberately, because his sitters – whom he largely found on the street, and so come with no known background attached – are fringed or entirely clothed in two-dimensional couture made of cardboard (Dame di Cartone literally translates as Cardboard Ladies). It's hard to be a rounded character, he seems to say, when we can literally see your edges.
Yet Tagliavini's work is no less grand, intimate or considered than Di Cosimo's: the photographer himself made both the fabric and cardboard elements of the costumes, created the mise-en-scène and authored the intricate poses. Indeed, each photo could take up to seven hours to put together – time well spent in creating a parodic aesthetic of his very own.
Cut Out and Keep is at Diemar/Noble Photography, London W1 (diemarnoblephotography.com), from Thursday to 7 January
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Madonna Rebel Heart: Pharrell Williams collaboration and 13 more songs leaked
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk