Gallery Ostlicht presents photographic works by Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams at the press conference in Ostlicht
Bryan Adams at the press conference in Ostlicht. Photo: Marina Richter. All rights reserved

Ostlicht Gallery, Vienna: When in 2002 it was announced that Bryan Adams would be one of two photographers to portray Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, nobody did expect that the photographic shooting would produce one of the most intriguing portraits in the recent history of the British Royal House. Brian Adams presented Elizabeth II as a nice smiling elder lady with a hat and string of pearls, sitting upon a wooden chair with a pair of mud encrusted rubber boots nearby, in an unrecognisable corner of the Buckingham Palace. Contrary to the shock caused by portrait of the Sovereign done by Lucian Freud in 2001, with salvoes exchanged between his critics (some of them even suggesting the author should be locked in the Tower of London) and his apologets, Adams’s photographs of Elizabeth II became very popular and the Canadian Postal Service used them for a special issue of postal stamps in 2004.

Portrait of the British Queen, as part of the Hall of Fame, constitutes part of the ongoing exhibition of photographic works of Bryan Adams in Viennese Ostlicht Gallery under name “Exposed”.

During last fifteen years famous authors, actors, movie directors, pop and rock stars posed, privately or for various fashion or photo magazines (among them for the Berlin-based magazine “Zoo”, co-founded by Bryan Adams), in front of the rough-voiced rock icon’s camera lens. Total of 55 portraits are exhibited in Vienna, among models being Sean Penn, Tommy Lee, Michael Jackson, Pink, Dustin Hoffman, Mickey Rourke, Michael J. Fox, Morrissey, Ken Russell, Louise Bourgeois, Udo Kier, Milos Forman, Salman Rushdie, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Christopher Lee and Ben Kingsley. Among portraits, the one that draws major attention belongs to American actor of Mexican extraction, Danny Trejo, favourite bad guy of the silver screen; the photograph shows the actor ponderously gazing at the far horizons. This photograph has also been selected for the poster that announces the exhibition.

The most impressive and different respective portraits of the famous, appears a series of b/w photographs of British veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq wars, where glamour gives way to young people whose lives changed amidst the bomb explosions and heavy wounds. Adams presents to us people, not heroes who lost their limbs, whose skin had been permanently marred by burns or scared by deep furrows. This ongoing project is expected to be soon supported with a publication titled “The Wounded; the Heritage of the War” which will be published in August by Steidl Publishers.

The concept of the retrospective under title “Exposed”, that had its premiere in the Moscow House of the Photography in 2012, and the reprise in NRW Forum of Düsseldorf, is due to curators Anke Degenhardt and Matt Humphrie, who closely collaborated with Brian Adams. Following very successful exhibition named “Mickey Rourke, by Bryan Adams” in Westlicht Photography gallery in 2006, the founder of which Peter Koeln also founded Ostlicht Gallery housed in an ancient bakery “Anker”, Vienna was a natural choice.

The artist was present at the grand opening in Ostlicht on June 19, Vienna being the city where he spent a year as a child of a diplomat.