Noah’s Ark, Naundorf’s latest body of work, is largely unseen and features a series of taxidermy animals alongside unique haute couture pieces by leading fashion designers including Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Gaultier, Elie Saab and Stephane Rolland. These elaborate sets embody a sense of extravagance – the dresses, headpieces and models posed against painted backdrops in a photo studio or on location – juxtaposed with the Biblical story and quest for a better life.
“I am telling the classic Bible story, Noah’s Ark. Saving the animals and mankind; leaving earth as we know it – in a boat – and believing there is something better for the future.”
Cathleen Naundorf captures her scenes with analogue large-format cameras, which, since the 1990s, she has used in rare combination with Polaroid film. Combined with her distinctive approach, Naundorf’s personal claim to the uniqueness of these carefully orchestrated images lies in the characters of the great Parisian haute couture designer gowns – which became the epitome of fashion during the second half of the last century. Eschewing digital editing, the colours and contrasts within Naundorf’s work derives entirely from her technique. Inspired by her mentor Horst P. Horst, Naundorf conjures eloquent mystical images, marrying the characteristic colours of instant film with playful light and shade. Her work, woven with Horst’s influence on many levels, has been described as timeless, blending a harmonious overtone of fashion, art and photography.
14 May – 20 Jun 2015