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Richard Prince in Hong Kong

June 15, 2011 by Kay

Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman that will give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong home, that's what it means. Richard Prince

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Richard Prince, his first solo exhibition in Asia.

Since the late 1970s, Prince has been mining images from mass media, advertising, and entertainment. Working in the tear-sheet department at TIME/LIFE in New York, he took magazine ads for jewelry, furniture, fashion, and cigarettes, and gave them new potency by cropping, removing ad copy from the images, reshooting black and white images on color film, and configuring them in generic groups. With these “rephotographs”, he redefined the artistic act and its related concepts of authorship, ownership, and the aura of the image. Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he has crafted a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures but that is unquestionably his own.

Many of the works included in this exhibition explore the role and representation of women in the male imaginary and in American culture, a principal theme in Prince’s oeuvre since the outset of his career and one that is charged with ambiguity and provocation. By locating, appropriating, and manipulating popular depictions of feminine types – from the aloof fashion model and the glamorous celebrity to the fetishistic nurse and the bold biker girlfriend - Prince explores how visual definitions of gender form in popular culture through repetition and reiteration. Gleaned from a variety of highbrow, lowbrow, and subcultural sources, Prince’s women abound with a diversity of stereotyped erotic appeal.

The highly stylized Untitled (Fashion) (1980-82) epitomizes the polished allure of luxury consumer culture and the unattainable woman that it espouses, whereas in Untitled (Three Women with Earrings) (1980) and Untitled (Four Women with Their Backs to the Camera) (1980), models from different fashion sources, stripped of their identifying copy, are grouped in repeating poses like so many mechanical reproductions. Untitled (Girlfriends) (2008), is the antithesis of the glacial perfection of the early fashion works. Here, biker chicks sprawl provocatively across customized motorcycles, amused accomplices in the creation of boyfriend fantasies. In Untitled (Publicity) (2000), collages of soft-porn photographs depicting women in seductive poses and various states of undress reinforce the cliché of the bedroom vamp. The protagonist of Nurse’s Tricks (2009), expressionistically overpainted, has her origins in pulp fiction and vaudeville. Like all of his women, Prince’s nurse is a paradox – both an ironic, and thus deconstructive, appropriation of a dubious cultural icon and the restitution of a stereotype that still shows signs of life.

7/F Pedder Building 12 Pedder Street Central Hong Kong