Miles Aldridge: Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn.
Through pop art, bright colors, and dark humor, British artist Miles Aldridge makes us flinch. His images are reminiscent of film stills: frames snatched from a broader story, pictures noted for their vibrant colors in smartly styled sets with an unsettling psychological vibe. Aldridge is a contemporary artist with a unique talent for inspiring the viewers to ask themselves questions. “In my work there is always a push and pull between high and low art”, says Aldridge.
Have you ever experienced life as a charade? The constant display of social conventions that society demands of us. All these masks we wear so others see us as successful and accomplished. Miles Ald-ridge has a special eye for these absurdities, disguising them in colorful beauty, and then elevating them to thought-provoking art.
“We live in an illusion of control in our lifestyle focused on consumption and social media. A Utopia we’ve created to achieve a fictional security. The truth, however, is that we have no control whatsoever. Because when life comes at us quick, and surprises us with things like disease, social injustices, riots, and pandemics, we’re incredibly vulnerable and stand defenseless. These are facts that my images focus and highlights on through the use of grand colors, carefully chiseled details, and a certain cynical dark humor”, says Aldridge.
Aldridge rose to prominence in the mid-nineties with his arresting, highly stylized photographs with references to film noir, art history, and pop culture. An acclaimed colorist, Aldridge renders elaborate mise-en-scènes in a palette of vibrant, acidic hues. These glamorous, frequently eroticized images probe society’s idealized notions of domestic bliss, where sinister undercurrents swirl beneath a flawless surface. Aldridge has worked prolifically for more than twenty-five years, and today he remains one of the few photographers still shooting predominately on film.
The exhibition Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn. Photographs 1999 to 2020 now opening at Fotografiska Stockholm will be his biggest retrospective yet with more than 80 images including series like (after Cattelan), in collaboration with artist Maurizio Cattelan. “The exhibition sees itself as a best-of from Miles’ oeuvre, spanning the cinematically inspired tableaus to the striking, sometimes funny and sarcastic roles of women, to the iconic series Immaculée and (after Cattelan). Portraits of stars such as Sophie Turner, Donatella Versace, or Ralph Fiennes can also be seen. A smart ride through Miles´ extravagant cosmos”, says curator Nadine Barth.