Aldridge, born in London in 1964, studied at Central St Martins School of Art and spent days wandering around The National Gallery, sketching. It was there that he fell for the work of the Northern Renaissance artists Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Durer.
“Lucretia”, after Lucas Cranach, is a chromogenic print showing a model posed as the classic figure of Lucretia, swathed in velvet, poised to pierce her chest with a dagger. It is a penetrating image with striking emotive impact. While referencing a historical figure, Aldridge has said that Lucretia is essentially “still the same strong woman” as those immortalised in his iconic images of housewives and Madonnas: “These are all women who hold all the cards. She is always the hero of her own biography.”
A chromogenic print of Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams references both Dürer and Holbein in its pose and palate, while Still Life #1 in which a skull is poised on a tablecloth set against a richly hued backdrop is both a memento mori in the art historical tradition and a look forward to the expressionism of Otto Dix and the German Expressionists with a nod to Warhol.
As part of ART HISTORY, Reflex will also exhibit works from Aldridge’s extraordinary recent collaborations - with the artists Gilbert & George, Maurizio Cattelan and Harland Miller.
His Gilbert & George series, featuring the two artists in and around their East London home, represents Aldridge’s first foray into the process of photogravure. It is, he insists, a resolutely anti-digital process, and one that feels fitting for the work of Gilbert & George themselves. “It is a conscious departure back to analogue,” Aldridge explains. “It got me surprised and excited about image-making all over again.”
In his work with Maurizio Cattelan, the artist invited Aldridge to respond to his retrospective exhibition in Paris by allowing him to shoot his own responses to Cattelan’s work after the museum closed at night. The phenomenal images to emerge from Aldridge’s night at the museum must be witnessed at first hand.
Aldridge’s collaboration with Harland Miller shows the way in which his work can swing from high to low, while still exhibiting the same high production values and obsessive attention to detail. In a series of screenprints, Aldridge took Miller’s famed Penguin Classics paintings and turned them into glossy, pulpy images of women in various states of undress, reading the paperbacks. “I wanted these images to have an association with cheaply manufactured imagery - pin-ups, Sunday supplements,” he says. “I remember the Sunday supplements in my parents’ house. The printing was coarse and the colours amped up.”
Also included in the show are some of Aldridge’s preparatory drawings as well as Polaroids - an opportunity to see the creative inspiration and planning behind the finished product.
“All the work hangs together through an overriding love and fascination of art.”
Aldridge has exhibited all over the world, from a solo show at Somerset House in London to galleries in New York, Zurich, Paris and beyond. His work is part of the permanent collection at The British Museum, London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the International Center for Photography, New York.
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