Helmut Newton

Welcome to Berlin

EXHIBITION Dec 14, 2002 — Feb 27, 2003

From 1987 until 2000, gallery Kicken represented the work of Helmut Newton worldwide exclusively. Together with international museums, institutions and galleries, numerous exhibitions of this outstanding photographer were realised in those years. By means of its fair booths in Basel, Paris and the United States, Kicken enabled the debut of Newton’s photographs on the international art market.
For the first time, Kicken Berlin exhibits a very personal selection of works by the Berliner under the title ‘Helmut Newton – Welcome to Berlin’ in its own gallery space. Newton was born in Berlin in 1920 as Helmut Neustaedter. He continues to have close ties with the German capital of intellectuals and artistic avant-gardes up to this day.
Alongside master pieces such as ‘Big Nude III’, unknown, anecdotal works will also be exhibited. Partly composed as personal presents of the artist to his art dealer, they speak of the intensity of a long standing cooperation, of the personal relationship and mutual endeavour of bringing together the separate worlds of fashion, commerce, art and photography.
‘Undoubtedly, Helmut Newton, a native German who lives in Monaco with an Australian passport, is a cosmopolitan, who cultivates this image with enjoyment. The fact that numerous of his photographs originated in hotel suites certainly forms part of this appearance. Newton was taught by the Berlin photographer Yva who was famous for her fashion, portraiture and nude shots. After his apprenticeship, Newton stayed in Australia and Singapore for several years. He then worked and lived for 25 years in Paris. He worked for the French, English, American and Italian ‘Vogue’, as well as for ‘Elle’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘Jardin des Modes’, ‘American Playboy’, ‘Nova’ and ‘Queen’. In addition, he regularly had larger picture reports in ‘Stern’ and ‘Life’.
Today, only very few photographers achieve to polarize the art world with such consistency as Newton. The art world is divided into a fan-community, which admires his pictures and his bitter opponents, who want to dismiss him as a stylish appearance of its time or as a women-hater. In fact, Newton created a new style in the field of fashion, beauty and nude photography. Certainly his style is partly so successful because Newton reveals a deep sense for the signs of his time. His connection of offensive self-interpretation and voluntary subjection with a preference for tall, bony and self-confident women represents the dilemma women and the women’s movement are still entangled in: on the one hand to obtain their share in social influence, and on the other hand nevertheless not wanting to give up the overcome identity as woman. Or to experience that the process of a new self-definition is difficult and painful. Masculine women and the tendency to androgyny is one answer to the not yet found identity in the new role. Newton’s photography demonstrates the most different facets of types of women who have emancipated themselves in this situation. Since he does this not in a critical but in a pleasurable way, he annoys the women’s movement, and this has ended in several legal proceedings.’ (Reinhold Mißelbeck, in: ’Photographie des 20. Jahrhunderts’, Museum Ludwig, Köln, Taschen Verlag, 1996)

On display at Kicken II is a portfolio with works by Anton Josef Trčka, which recently has been published by the gallery. The portfolio in a limited edition of 35 copies contains a selection of his most important photographic work.