Maripol - Photographs London Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Maripolorama, powerHouse, 2005, cover and various pages
    Maripol: Little Red Riding Hood, Damiani, 2010, cover and various pages

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘Nothing was ever separated: the music, the life, the films, the writing, the poetry, the fashion, the art. We lived on hero sandwiches. I was very skinny. It was great.’

    Maripol, recently described by Vogue as ‘the Original Club-Kid Selfie Queen’, traded Paris for New York in 1976, at the age of 21, and began taking Polaroids a year later, immersing herself in the bright lights of the city and its grimy underground. Working as a stylist and sometimes model, she collaborated with Grace Jones and Blondie and shaped Madonna’s now-iconic look for both her self-titled debut album and it’s follow up Like a Virgin. In 1981, Maripol teamed up with her then-boyfriend and photographer Edo Bertoglio, who gave Maripol her first Polaroid SX-70, to shoot Downtown 81. Written by Glenn O’Brien, the first editor of Interview magazine, and starring a young Jean-Michel Basquiat, the film, only released in 2000, is a day-in-the-life portrait filled with a cast of colourful characters and avant-garde artists of the Lower East Side. Reflecting on the people she knew at the time, Maripol has said, ‘We were artists but we didn’t really think of that. We were in the moment.’

    Throughout the 1980s, Maripol faithfully carried around her Polaroid camera, shooting her friends, both famous and unknown, and often turning the camera on herself: ‘I would take Polaroid selfies to express myself – my sorrows, my joys, my sexiness, my love.’ She also took pictures of landscapes, interiors and still lifes, ranging from her signature rubber bracelets and other jewellery creations to abstract close-ups of objects. Maripol pushed the boundaries of the Polaroid, experimenting with multiple exposures, and at times scratching the surface of her Polaroids to cross out faces or directly applying ink and paint to them. Taken during a time when everything seemed to be moving fast, her Polaroids present a world that has become glamourised in our collective imagination. ‘Certain people make things happen. They see things coming and put this one together with that one,’ writes Glenn O’Brien for the introduction to her 2006 photobook Maripolarama, ‘They are secret agents of fate. And that’s what Maripol did and does.’

    To create the present work My 80s, Maripol has selected and assembled 80 of her famous Polaroids, taken with her faithful SX-70 between 1977 and 1989. Skillfully weaving together various visual elements – people, places and objects – Maripol creates a tapestry of her life as one of the driving forces behind the 1980s New York art scene. The process of digitising her unique Polaroids has allowed the artist the creative freedom to tell new narratives. In this digital collage, the 80 Polaroids are shown actual size, underscoring their raw object quality. Maripol, in the work offered here, has transformed her instant and spontaneous snapshots into a lasting visual record of social history.

    Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Dundee Contemporary Arts, and reside in many collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has published the photobooks Maripola X (2013), Maripol: Little Red Riding Hood (2010) and Maripolarama (2005), and the film Downtown 81 was selected for the Director’s Fortnight category at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.



My 80s, New York

Archival pigment print of eighty SX-70 Polaroids, flush-mounted, executed 2016.
Image: 107.7 x 71 cm (42 3/8 x 27 7/8 in.)
Frame: 123.7 x 87 cm (48 3/4 x 34 1/4 in.)

Signed, titled, dated, numbered 1/1 in ink and 'Polaroid Limited Edition' credit blindstamp on an artist label affixed to the reverse of the frame. Accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity.

This work is number 1 from the edition of 1 and is unique in this size.

£10,000 - 15,000 

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 19 May 2016