In 1971 Polaroid introduced the Big Shot camera; featuring an integrated flash, viewfinder and fixed focus lens, it was aimed at shooting portraits – and was enthusiastically taken up by artist Andy Warhol. The camera was discontinued in 1973 but Warhol kept using it until his death in 1987, capturing shots of actors, artists, politicians, clubbers, and Factory hangers-on. He also used it to photograph himself, creating a self-portrait in 1979 in what he called his “fright wig” that measures a whopping 81.3cm x 55.9cm.
BASTIAN gallery is showing this huge self-portrait in an exhibition of over 60 of Warhol’s Polaroids, highlighting “the artist’s prolific capacity as a chronicler of his time”. “Alongside other friends, clients and Studio 54 dwellers, these photographs – initially preparatory works for Warhol’s iconic silkscreen portraits – reveal a lack of pathos or individuation, underlining the artist’s notion of an era where ‘everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we’re getting more and more that way’,” states the gallery.
The show is BASTIAN’s first in London – Galerie BASTIAN opened in Berlin in 2007 but, after opening a London office, has now opened a gallery in Mayfair. Founded by Céline and Heiner Bastian and directed by Aeneas Bastian, BASTIAN specialises in 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joseph Beuys, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Andy Warhol Polaroid Pictures is on show from 02 February – 13 April at BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, London W1K 3DW www.bastian-gallery.com/en/