Miles Aldridge (after) - Projects with Harland Miller, Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George at Lyndsey Ingram Gallery

The Lyndsey Ingram gallery is currently displaying the stunning works of Miles Aldridge, with pieces inspired by Harland Miller, Maurizio Cattelan and Gilbert & George.

The exhibition begins in a small room with tall glass doors and windows that lead onto the quaint little street outside. Inside the gallery, however, visitors are greeted by an immensely huge photograph hanging on the wall. Eyes are instantly captured by ‘Untitled (after Cattelan) #3’, which shows a naked woman standing proudly in the centre of a grand room. The woman is sporting a clownish chemical red wig (with body hair to match) and behind her, beyond the doorway, are a series of body shapes wrapped in cloth sheets, resembling corpses. To the woman’s left stands a serious and mysterious looking man while above, a mammoth of a horse hangs, as if paused in mid-air while jumping through the wall.

Other photographs of a similar nature are displayed, with the android like model sporting various chemically coloured wigs, each with a story just as bizarre, allowing viewers the chance to create their own stories and histories surrounding the curiously beautiful photographs. Although each scene is incredibly freakish, they all contain scenes of mild provocativeness, shown in a polaroid shot of the model, this time with yellow wig, lying on the floor, eyes closed, legs spread open, while the Pope lies crumpled beside her having been struck down by a meteorite.

The other side of the room displays monochromatic scenes of a young woman with a boyish charm, visiting Gilbert & George. The atmosphere of the photographs is that of a dapper and unassuming young guest who appears to be visiting their rather sinister uncles, Gilbert & George. The guest is seen in rather perplexing situations; in ‘Love Always & All Ways (after Gilbert & George) #5’, Gilbert & George are seen to be interrupting their statuesque guest taking a bath, fully clothed.

The poses and expressions (or rather lack of) create a disturbing absence of personality. The photographs are in mostly black and white, with a few important parts of the scene in colour. However, the colour appears only in block form, only covering clothing items and light gleams. The palette used consists of a few primary and secondary colours: blues, reds, greens, and yellows.

Viewers are then invited through a small arched hallway, which contains paintings and coloured sketches of Aldridge’s work planning out each photo shoot and resulting image for his ‘After Miller’ picture with the stunning model, Cleo Cwiek.

This photoshoot is actually based on the soft pornographic magazine spreads of the 1960s, using a vintage style household for the erotic background of his shots and Aldridge has taken striking photos printed onto silk screen, he then covers each print with a transparent ink to give it the appeal of retro-kitsch style artwork.

The beautiful blonde model poses with books whose covers have been painted by Harland Miller with titles that contain a significant amount of dry humour. The books are the perfect accompaniments to Aldridge’s ironic vintage style photoshoot. The model poses seductively with each book in various poses, gradually appearing in less and less clothing, until she is almost completely nude. Cleo Cwiek has perfectly mastered the idle, almost erotically vacuous stare, typical of models from the 1960s who were exploited by fashion and ‘artistic tastes’. Her eyes drift off to nowhere, in search of a more dignified, educated world. Aldridge directed the model to appear in such a fashion, as one of Aldridge’s artistic signatures was to almost mock the modelling industry, having models appear lifeless and robotic, statuesque and incredibly demoralised. This behaviour is seen in the model not only for his ‘After Miller’ shoot but also in the models for ‘After Cattelan’ and ‘After Gilbert & George’. The models have become the embodiments of the constructed image of a model - no longer sentient, but a work of living art, hyper-stylised and sexually on show.

The photographs in this exhibition emit an otherworldly atmosphere, while additionally containing ironically displayed hidden messages. This astonishing and exotic collection of works displayed here at the Lyndsey Ingram gallery are so curiously beautiful, the images and meanings they convey will remain imprinted in the minds of viewers long after they have left the gallery.

Miles Aldridge (after) - Projects with Harland Miller, Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George is on at Lyndsey Ingram Gallery until 5th January 2018.  More information may be found here.