This exhibition brings together fifty-four photographs by Mario Testino which reveal two opposing directions in his work: fashion and the nude. These subjects are to be discovered both in his well-known published oeuvre as a fashion photographer as well as in his personal work, and the show includes a number of photographs specially taken for this exhibition and seen here for the first time.
For Mario Testino, the hear t of Todo o Nada lies in contemplating the process and implications involved in the act of removing one’s clothes and becoming naked. As he says, “The pictures star t fully clothed and end naked. But where does fashion photography end and portraiture begin?” To this end, the exhibition includes photographs in which the models wear elaborate dresses, in sets specifically created for each picture and characterised by a deliberate theatricality, contrasted with others in which they are seen starkly unclothed, referring to iconic Plates of Spanish art such as Goya’s Majas.
The exhibition also reveals many dimensions of the relationship between the photographer and his models. From
the glamour of the most famously beautiful women in the world, nude, or wearing haute couture (often photographed with a touch of irony and a provocative sense of humour), to more intimate, oblique and spontaneous moments, Todo o Nada is an ode to ‘Testino’s woman’. He has defined and redefined his way of seeing a woman over the course of his career. She is a woman who moves between totally opposing poles: “I like strong, independent women. Women who, despite their strength, never lose their femininity and who do not use their beauty as a tool. Women with personality who can reflect their own desires and ours.”
Within the concept of the show, Testino’s intention has been to establish a dialogue with the Museum’s collection. In his words: “Exhibiting in a museum such as the Thyssen-Bornemisza with its extraordinary collection is a privilege for any artist working today, particularly given that many of the artists and Plates in the collection have influenced my own work and inspired me. The Museum is remarkable, not just for the collection that it houses, but also for the space, which enhances the work of any artist.”