Klimt- The Sequel

Inspiration has a starnge way of finding you. One chilly spring day, on a quiet corner of the upper east side, New York. I made my first foray up the steps of Neue Galerie, seduced more by the reputation of it's excellent Viennesse Cafe, than it's prized inhabitant-"Adele Bloch Bauer". Bought in 2007 for a princely sum of 135 million dollars, thus making gustav klimt - 20th century's most expensive artist. So there she was, all swirls of gold, glinting squares and rectangles prolifearting in kaleidoscopic permulations, dizzy circle and drunken spirals, the visual equivalent of opposing harmonies. Within her lay the slow languid pull of deeper temptation and so began my journey. I followed Klimt's work, back to his hometown Vienna. I became hooked to his Byzantine luxuriance of form, the vivid juxtaposition of colours derived from the Austrian rococo. Klimt's portraits in particular, with their abundant sensuality, underlying eroticism, and decorative tracery created in me a yearning to relive his vision. His portraits became my inspiration when I was re-commissioned by the Bird Group to create their annual photographic calender series on old masters. But, how does one reconstruct the electicism of Klimt? Piecing a photograph of gilded mosaics from the spritual to the sensual. Melting solid flesh into fantastical ornaments. How does one create geometry and perspectives that cannot normally be seen through the camera's viewfinder? In this journey of swapping easels for pixels, I found a worthy partner, master craftman Manoranjan Mukherjee created the props, the accessories, iconic sets of the background vying and often overwhelming the foreground. He literally glued together a treasure trove of patterns- in raised relief-on imaginary garments that completely shielded the models. But in reconstructing Klimt, there was only part pleasure of accuracy but more substantially the pleasure of form, a form so poetic, so delicate that it is almost invisible. The shared secrets of these ostensibly different portraits are the decorative accidentals. And yet Klimt can never be dismissed as an artist of mere dazzle or surface beauty. "The Sequel" is my humble photographic tribute to an opulent artist of desire.