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Works from the Mario Testino Collection on view at The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Artist studio, London, 2010. Photographed by Mario Testino

TURIN.- The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli announces its exhibition “SOMOS LIBRES II”, a selection of works from the Mario Testino Collection, curated by Neville Wakefield.

“SOMOS LIBRES II” opened at the Pinacoteca Agnelli in Turin from 17th May to 14th September 2014 and features works from Testino's personal art collection, including artists such as Tauba Auerbach, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Glenn Ligon, Jonathan Monk, Ugo Rondinone, Cindy Sherman, Adriana Varejão, and Andy Warhol.

For the past two decades we have come to understand the world of Mario Testino through his photography. While the images he creates with the camera are known to the world, the art that he collects which inspires him has remained largely private.

SOMOS LIBRES II – translated from Spanish meaning “We Are Free” - was presented for the first time in 2013 at MATE, Mario Testino’s cultural institution in Lima, Peru. For that first exhibition, SOMOS LIBRES explored Testino’s interest in the works of established artists such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Paul McCarthy alongside works by lesser-known and emerging artists from his native Peru.

SOMOS LIBRES II takes place at the Pinacoteca Agnelli in Turin and continues to explore the idea of creative freedom that is an essential part of the between art and the worlds of commercial and fashion-photography. In keeping with the underlying thematic of a world seen and interpreted as much by the photographic lens as it is the eye, the show is first encountered through images culled from Testino’s many studio visits. The idea of freedom is in this sense immediately conveyed as the doors open, first to the artist’s studio and then to the art it yields and reveals.

The main body of the exhibition contrasts the empty stage of the abstraction with the figurative impulse of the photography that represents Testino’s interests and influences. Likewise the installation itself opposes the traditional wall hanging of the gallery space with the blending of impetus and impulse similar to the pages of books and magazines that are the more common habitat of photography. Within this space, Testino’s own images are presented as if the pages of a three-dimensional magazine, merging the acquisitive impulses of his eye and collection. Vintage and classic photographs from Testino’s collection hang against the backdrop of his own photography. Here the currency of photography and its continual flux of likeness is surrounded and enclosed by work in the traditional mediums, that are at once more static in their trading of meaning and more opaque in their delivery.

In the final room the figurative impulse finds its echo in more traditional forms. Hung salon style, these paintings from the collection suggest a different form of contiguity. Where photography allows for the overlaying of different sources and mediums to create multiple exposures of past and present, magazine and page, film and print, so the painted forms are shown adjacently. The influence of photography past and present can still be felt within these more traditionally formed works. Hung together in this way they speak to each other as well as the photographic world to which they sometimes refer. What they reveal is just another aspect of a collection that has been fashioned at the interstices of Testino’s world - a place where studio, gallery, collection and magazine merge.

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