Further to his Hommage à Allen Ginsberg: a tribute to his friend and one of the greatest American contemporary poets – performed last June 30th at the Odeon Theatre in Lyon – on July 13th Philip Glass is going to commemorate (twenty years after his tragic death) another major American artist and friend: Robert Mapplethorpe.
The show in Lyon “Footnote to Howl – The Poet Speaks”, presented by Les Nuits de Fourviere was enriched by the presence of Patti Smith, whose poetry was highly inspired by Allen Ginsberg. A marvellous combination of poetry and music has been flowing around the venue capturing the audience. Dense of emotions, read by Patti Smith, the lines of one of the guru of the Beat generation, preaching freedom and peace, were accompanied by piano solo Philip Glass – Ginsberg’s comrade in the famous opera “Hydrogen Jukebox”.
Thus next week Monday another tame, insightful and inspirational evening is awaited in Florence, at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Immersed within the masterpieces of Italian pre-Renaissance and Renaissance Philip Glass will give a tribute concert in memory of the famous American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This initiative has been organised within the framework of a major exhibition titled “Perfection in form” dedicated to Mapplethorpe by the curators Franca Falletti and Jonathan Nelson, which will last from May 26th to September 27th. The title itself reproduces the artist’s philosophy and itinerary:
I seek for perfection in form… a subject rather than another makes no difference… I try to capture what appears “sculptural” to me.
Altogether the exhibition will display 111 pieces: in addition to Mapplethorpe’s 93 works there will be Michelangelo’s David, Quattro Prigioni plus four drawings and a wax model of the extraordinary Renaissance master. Thus coincidentally his modern artworks will be exhibited a few steps from the David – Michelangelo’s masterpiece; somehow rewarding Mapplethorpe for his unfathomable admiration for the greatest Italian master:
If I were born one or two hundred years ago, I could have made a good sculptor, but photography is a faster way to see things, to make sculptures.
Mapplethorpe was fascinated by the classics, he felt particularly the utmost care to any detail, the research of right proportions. In truth, his photographs truly look like marvellous sculptures, light and shade are perfectly balanced. No matter as whether the subject is a human being or a still life, the quest for classical marble-like effect is absolutely achieved and the result is sublime indeed:
I see things like they were sculptures.. it depends on how that form exists within the space and I think that this kind of approach comes from my historic-artistic education
The exhibition is organised in five sections all dealing with one pivotal issue “form”:
1.Mapplethorpe and “il Rinascimento”
2.Geometry of Form
3.The fragment as form
4.The form doubles itself
5.The sculptural form
Philip Glass, one of the most audacious and ingenious composers of our days (one of the originators of Minimalism) will try to revive this conceptual approach with his music, it ought not to be arduous for him since he admits:
Subject and structure are the same thing. This is what I used to do with my music. And thisi is what I think Robert used to do in his art.
Sponsor of the concert is The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, a charitable institution created by the artist supporting the recognition of photography as a fine art and the medical fight against AIDS and HIV infection. Thus the proceeds from Philip Glass concert will go to L.I.L.A, the Italian League for the Fight Against Aids – a non-profit agency defending human right violations against AIDS or HIV diseased.