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Untitled #1 From The Ken Moody Portfolio by Robert Mapplethorpe

Untitled #1 From The Ken Moody Portfolio by Robert Mapplethorpe




Edition Size: 60

Sheet Size: 30 x 24 3/4 inches


Condition: Pristine

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3-color photogravure with screenprint

The Untitled #1-5 portfolio consists of five images of the model Ken Moody, produced as photogravures at Graphicstudio in 1985, the first prints in this medium produced by the workshop. The project was undertaken by Research Director Deli Sacilotto, with whom Mapplethorpe had worked previously in gravure; the plates were executed in New York and the editions printed in Tampa. Four of the five prints in the series were single-color photogravures. Sacilotto stated, however, that Mapplethorpe “wanted each one to be slightly different—not the usual techniques. He suggested hand-watercolor. We got to talking about flocking in the background, which we ended up using in one of the prints [Untitled #5].” The hand-coloring was executed according to the artist’s specifications by USF graduate student Susan Voss. According to Sacilotto, Ken Moody (nude with red background), printed in three colors, at that time was “one of the few, if not the only, full-color hand-printed photogravure in existence. I don’t know if anybody else has done that. It involves process color-red, yellow, blue, printed in that order. Of course, the registration problem was extremely difficult. We worked with dampened paper and tremendous pressure, so if you get slight expansion or slight mis-registration it would throw it out entirely. We ended up printing at least 140 impressions in order to get 80 good prints.”

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The Artist

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe was an American counter-culture artist who blazed a taboo-busting trail across the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He worked mainly in black and white photography, addressing themes of sexual behaviour, homosexuality, erotica and sadomasochism. His images were mostly portraits, including nudes, self-portraits and noted artists such as Andy Warhol and Joan Armatrading. As a gay man, his work was often homo erotic. He also depicted people engaged in sexual acts including BDSM, which was very controversial at the time. Despite this, Mapplethorpe’s intention wasn’t purely to shock. He wanted to cast light on the unseen undercurrents of human behaviour and on those who were often kept out of public view.

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