An exhibition of work by the iconic filmmaker and artist Kenneth Anger at Sprüth Magers London is delighted to present , in his second solo show at the London gallery. ‘Icons’ will bring together an archive of photographs, scrapbooks, letters and memorabilia from Anger’s personal collection, offering an insight into the unique vision of an artist widely acclaimed as a pioneering and influential force in avant-garde cinema, whose influence extends through generations of film makers, musicians and artists.
The archive Icons will be exhibited across two rooms, painted midnight blue and crimson red, to replicate the way in which the collection was on display at Kenneth Anger’s home in Los Angeles. An occupation with Hollywood began as a child when Anger would visit film sets with his costume designer grandmother. Ranging from tabloid and magazine covers, to posters and illustrations, the archival documents on show, gathered over many decades, reveal the extent of Anger’s fascination with the industry and the Golden Age of Hollywood. Centered on figures such as Greta Garbo and Rudolph Valentino, the memorabilia evokes the world of the classic studios and the mystique of its stars, and reveals the inspiration and source material behind the filmmaker’s infamous celebrity gossip books Hollywood Babylon, published in 1975 and 1984.
Delving into Hollywood scandal and excess, these publications, like his films, serve to highligh t the very ambivalent dynamic between the cinema audience and the stars they worship and destroy. Here, images from contemporary pop culture and of Hollywood stars are taken out of their usual structures of representation and put into a new, perverse context intended to disturb customary modes of perception.