For two ex-art students, nothing beats an art exhibition on a beautiful, balmy Tuesday, particularly when it concerns someone as intoxicating and provocative as Miles Aldridge. Many of you will be familiar with his vibrant imagery. He is best known for his glossy, lustrous images of women – many of whom appear disengaged, groomed to the point of artifice – and has worked with publications like Vogue, Numero and Paradis. His latest exhibition is a retrospective of his major works at Somerset House entitled ‘I Only Want You To Love Me’, referring to the buying of consumer products in the hope that people will love you more.
‘These women aren’t blank because they have nothing to say,’ Aldridge says. ‘They are blank because they’re overwhelmed by their world. When somebody is thinking, they look blank. And it’s that moment that I’m trying to capture. When somebody looks lost in thought they’re vulnerable, and you’re able to intrude on that privacy and take a photograph that captures this human being using their brain, trying to clarify how they got to this position. Why are they at the sink washing up, or in the playground pushing a swing with no child in it? To me, the great moments in Hollywood are close-ups of a woman’s face, thinking, and she’s just realised that her whole world is wrong.’ (Source: The Telegraph)
I am such a huge fan of his work and this beautifully curated exhibit is the most exciting i’ve seen since the bronze show at the Royal Academy. The room evokes a child like wonderment akin to your first fun-house experience at a carnival. A kaleidoscope of acid brights and pastels punctuate each series, the vivid hues distracting you from the innate passivity of his subjects. I felt uncertain as to how I was supposed to engage with the work but I think that’s part of the thrill. The highlight was a darkly lit ‘chapel’ housing the Immaculée images as well as a collection of hundreds of polaroids encased in glass and observed from above.
Not only is Aldridge a tremendous talent, he is also an incredibly warm and entertaining man, one I hope I have the pleasure of meeting again. Here is a little melange of my favourite pieces.
(Featuring my gorgeous friend, Leah De Wavrin)
I Only Want You To Love Me is on show at Somerset House from 10th July – 29th September.