News

Image: The naked truth: Nadav Kander, Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, Flowers Gallery, London
News

The naked truth: Nadav Kander, Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, Flowers Gallery, London

"Nadav Kander was inspired by ideas of Elizabethan purity to create these stunning photographic portraits of six nude females and one male.

Their alabaster white skin and red-gold hair recalls the colour scheme of Queen Elizabeth I's portraits. Her Majesty famously painted her face with Venetian ceruse, a cosmetic paste made of lead that could cause premature ageing, hair loss, teeth loosening.

The pursuit of beauty and eternal youth, the erasure of blemishes at all costs, has in the 21st century reached a new pitch of hysteria. The quest for physical perfection has changed form but it is now perhaps no less deadly.

Kander counteracts the prevailing body fascisms of today by choosing models with two attributes that are often ridiculed: they are mostly ginger and voluptuous. Against a black background, the females hide their faces while the lone male stares out at the viewer. This is a complicated kind of shame.

Reclining, curled up, or standing, their mounds of chalk-white flesh are luminous. Their skin is covered in a fine white powder that might be chalk but is in fact marble dust. The allusions to classical and renaissance sculpture are strong but not overdone. These are pictures - large and reverentially lit - in their own right.

Born in Israel but raised in South Africa, Kander, 51, has lived in London since the 1980s. He has photographed celebrities from Eric Cantona to Erin O'Connor posing as Millais's Ophelia, and designed album covers for Take That and Snow Patrol.

He won the Prix Pictet in 2009 for Yangtze, The Long River, which explored China's "unnatural" pace of development and the risk of estrangement from the past.

While those photographs showed nature violated, la peinture vivant, nature violated, the living painting that hangs in the stairwell of this exhibition is more ambivalent. It is a film of a reclining female nude with her back to the viewer. She too is violated, at odds with herself, but in a more subtle way.

As she begins to move, it transpires that she is composed of two films, playing in disjunction. Her top half moves at odds with her bottom half, evoking the magician's trick of cutting a woman in two. A white mouse crawls across her thighs in profile.

Terms such as "sculptural" and "monumental" are often applied to artworks that are neither. But Kander has created an unnerving stone-like serenity in these portraits"

Zoe Pilger

www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment

Newsletter signup

Get our newsletter including exhibitions, news and events
We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
London

21 Cork Street
London W1S 3LZ

Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm

Please enquire about private viewings or visits outside of our regular hours. 

To ensure the continued safety of our staff and guests when inside our gallery spaces, thank you for wearing a face covering for the duration of your visit and respecting social distancing.


We have a maximum limit to the number of people allowed within our gallery at any one time and therefore we may need to ask you to wait outside or to return at another time. 

 

London

82 Kingsland Road
London E2 8DP

Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm

Please enquire about private viewings or visits outside of our regular hours. 

To ensure the continued safety of our staff and guests when inside our gallery spaces, thank you for wearing a face covering for the duration of your visit and respecting social distancing. 

We have a maximum limit to the number of people allowed within our gallery at any one time and therefore we may need to ask you to wait outside or to return at another time.  
 
New York

Private viewings by appointment

 

Hong Kong

49 Tung Street
Sheung Wan

Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 6pm


*Closed
29 January - 3 February 2022

Close

Your saved list

Create a list of works then send us an enquiry.
No items found