High-minded Madrid exhibition brings bottoms up front

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The work of 67 celebrated photographers, including Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Man Ray, goes on show in Madrid this week. Their subject? Human bottoms in all shapes and sizes.

Not that this exhibition of "culos" is mean to be light-hearted: perish the thought. The pictures "show the multiple artistic possibilities of the human body seen from behind", the organisers solemnly promise. The photographers "have portrayed in their works the part of the body that is and always has been a motive for worship in our society. As the face of a person becomes the visual axis of the frontal portrait, when observing the back, the eye is drawn spontaneously to the bottom, which becomes the indisputible protagonist."

Thiswas undoubtedly what a judge at last week's Miss Italia beauty contest in Rome was thinking when he protested on air that he couldn't rate the swimsuit-clad beauties unless he saw their bottoms. "Obviously we want to see the girls in their totality. I always look at girls from behind. If I can’t see that side, I cannot judge," said the fashion designer Guillermo Mariotto.

But Italy’s public RAI channel refused.

But the title of the Madrid show slightly undermines its high-mindedness. It's called "Ocultos" (Hidden) - inspired, organisers say, by the legendary private studies or cabinets where art collectors secretly stored their more salacious works.

"Ocultos" runs from 3 October to 6 January at the Fundacion Canal in Madrid.

Further viewing: 'Ocultos' runs from 3 October to 6 January at the Fundacion Canal in Madrid