Fashion | November 19, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

Guy Bourdin: Storyteller
Armani/Silos, Milano
February 24 – November 29, 2023

Milan, February 2023 – On the occasion of Milan Fashion Week, Giorgio Armani inaugurates the Guy Bourdin: Storyteller exhibition at Armani/Silos, paying homage to the work of the French photographer. This exhibition aims to highlight the compositional and narrative intent behind Guy Bourdin’s photography, beyond the provocative aspects often associated with his work. Drawing inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper, both of whom he greatly admired, Guy Bourdin was essentially a storyteller capable of encapsulating entire novels, particularly in the mystery and noir genres, within a single frame.

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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

Presented in the spaces of Armani/Silos are one hundred photographs selected by Giorgio Armani in collaboration with The Guy Bourdin Estate. These photos include iconic shots as well as lesser-known images. The use of saturated colors, a distinctive feature of Bourdin’s style, is explored through entire rooms dedicated to red, green, and pink, as well as his skill in deconstructing forms, especially with mannequins, and his unmistakable approach to composition.

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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

Twenty-one black and white photographs demonstrate how Bourdin’s expressive ability is immediately apparent even with the simplest of contrasts. A section of the exhibition delves into Bourdin’s love for cinema, a central element of his creativity, showcasing a selection of advertising campaign photos that resemble crime scenes or police chases, echoing his fascination with Alfred Hitchcock and the theme of “mystery plot.”

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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

Born in 1928 in Paris, Guy Bourdin initially started his career as a painter before transitioning to photography as a self-taught artist in the early 1950s. He developed a unique style with surreal atmospheres, influenced in part by his long-standing friendship with Man Ray, whom he met in 1951. Noticing his talent, Vogue Paris began collaborating with Guy Bourdin, and he produced fashion editorials and advertising campaigns known for their incredible creative freedom. His primary focus was on creating compelling images rather than promoting products, and he remained steadfast in this intent. Bourdin’s background as a painter influenced his approach, from meticulous color studies to compositions suspended between the absurd and the sublime, designed to stimulate the viewer’s subconscious. His hyper-real colors, play of light and shadow, and the glossy makeup of models were all part of his unique and recognizable visual language.

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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

“This exhibition confirms my intention to make Armani/Silos a center of contemporary photographic culture, encompassing what is close to the Armani world and also what is distant from it. At first glance, Guy Bourdin is not an artist close to me; his language was clear, graphic, and strong. What is immediately perceived in his work is provocation on the surface, but what strikes me, and what I wanted to emphasize, is his creative freedom, his narrative ability, and his great love for cinema. Bourdin didn’t follow the mainstream and didn’t compromise: a quality I recognize in myself as well. I believe there is no other way to leave a mark in the collective imagination.” – Giorgio Armani


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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos
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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos
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Image courtesy of Armani/Silos

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