Having previously been to exhibitions at the Gagosian Gallery on Britannia Street, I had high expectations for the Mayfair gallery. I arrived at a small, formal, simplistic, slightly quaint building, vastly different to the large, somewhat industrial setting in the city that I was accustomed to.
The Gagosian Gallery on Davies Street has an exterior on the main road which is completely made out of glass, giving the public a glimpse into what it has to offer. However, I was slightly surprised to discover that what you could see before entering, was in fact all that there is to see, just one room, which was merely occupied by myself and a security guard. On first appearances it looked as though it would not be possible to get inside, however the security guard opened the door and told me ‘not to worry‘ and that he ‘doesn’t bite.’
After opening the door for me, the security guard told me ‘you might need this’, gesturing to a laminated copy of a press release, short and sweet, just one page, no words next to the prints at all. The gallery was empty, I effectively had my own private viewing of seven Warhol prints, which is an experience I very much doubt that I will be able to indulge in again anytime soon.
The exhibition houses seven silk screen prints of Bardot, five of which had never been seen before, and two of which had rarely been seen either. The prints were based on a photograph of Bardot from 1959 by Richard Avedon, while the paintings were constructed in 1974. The garish make up and bright colours are a product of the seventies, from greens to blues to pinks, Warhol captures Bardot in an array of colours, yet for me, the most striking print is black and white. Compared to the other six prints, which are all slightly bigger, this print stands out, it has an edge, it is two toned, there are no accents for make up on the eyes and lips. It has an air of vulnerability, the simplicity of the painting is rather captivating.
This exhibition, while in someways minimalistic, portrays Warhol’s enchantment with Bardot. He preserves her good looks, youth, and shows her to be the sex symbol that she was. By focusing just on one subject, the Gagosian Gallery stresses the influence both Bardot and Warhol had on pop culture.
Warhol: Bardot is open at the Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street until November 12th