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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Rolf Koppel: Male Nudes

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Rolf Koppel
Male Nudes

It‘s dizzying for me to comment on my work with male nudes. It‘s not so easy to make a picture while yearning. And it‘s no easier to think what yearning is. Yearning for yearning is what an artist does... yearning to finally see, not to touch, as though seeing were the only sense, and every sense, and the only sensibility.
Yearning to know what it means to be inside a body and to see it from the outside as the "other", to validate I exist, is what provoked me to begin making self portrait nudes. I made them for years and I made them just for myself until my friends and publishers in Austria persuaded me to put them into a book which I called ‘Soliloquy". You could say this wanting to be inside and outside a body simultaneously, in two places at once, is perfectly photographic and surely must be a question about spaces which only art could even try to answer. And over time I realized that, though that subject may be slightly acceptable, the photographer is who I prefer. He could allow fantasy in the domestic setting and accept the light at hand because it was a playing out of roles which revealed me. He allowed a good natured and apparent pastiche, a kind of acting, almost a mugging. He tried to understand a sort of blind formalism because he could almost never see me but had to imagine me in a setting. So when Will came along in 1999, I was as ready as I could be.
Will is an artist. He was seeking a photographer who would enable and corroborate his fantasies. As we worked and lived together I realized, because Will could intuit the process, he is the lithe messenger I had always wanted to convey desire, doubt, and awareness in the same picture. Some of those pictures we did are in a book titled "Will" and they have the sort of narrative fantasy of the self portraits. I can‘t do those any more, so we are making a different sort of nude together now. Only one of that sort is in this exhibition. They will soon be in a large museum show in Vienna and I‘ll add them here if I can.
Rolf Koppel (February 27, 2008) 



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