Since I know of Thursday night gallery openings, I look forward to them on a regular basis. I look forward to the exciting new art from around the world, the endless buzz of people moving around in an organized mess, and I look forward to the free booze – normally, a glass of cheap red wine in a plastic cup. If it’s Shoreditch and you’re lucky perhaps half a pint of the home-brewed ale from the pub around the corner. And if you end up in a white townhouse with decorated three-meter high ceilings just off Berkley Square in the middle of Mayfair, the free booze comes in the shape of a flute that contains endless supplies of prosecco.
Last Thursday I ended up with said flute in my hand after dodging five photographers on my way into Castle Fine Art Gallery. Not one but two PR people greeted me and my plus-one at the door, shook our hands vigorously whilst balancing three clipboards, various press releases and a phone in their arms, welcomed us warmly and assured me that Raphael would be free to talk to me in just a few minutes. Till then, we were to get ourselves a drink (we did), wander around (we did too), and enjoy the art (we… well, we’ll get to that).
Raphael Mazzucco, a Canadian-born fashion and music photographer and – if you’re being ambitious – artist, likes to think of himself as a superstar. When I spoke to him, he lounged on the sofa as if he was the one posing for a camera, resting his head lazily on a perched hand, flashing pristine white teeth and insisting on how much he loves, loves, loooves London. I’m sure Hello! magazine was impressed.
…to be honest, I prefer the book…
I had just had flicked through his book “Culo”, which as its Spanish name suggests focuses on the – for the lack of a better word – ass of women and was expecting a better sense of humor. To be honest, for all its vulgarity and objectification, I prefer the book. The images were fantastic!
The works on the wall of Castle Fine Art on the other hand would have blown me away had they been stripped of about 4 layers of random bursts of acrylic paint, various lost bits of bone, and random inscriptions of philosophical bullshit such as “LIFE”, “BEAUTY” or “FREEDOM”. It was a whole lot of Pollock-Hirst-Hallmark disaster that covered up Leibowitz-quality shots.
…brunette goddess seductively sprawled across a white stallion…
Seeing as he likes name-dropping so much, his talents would be much better applied if he focused on fashion photography, celebrity portraiture or spreads in men’s magazines. My plus one (handsomely dressed flat-mate who has a great affinity for women and little hesitation in letting me know as much) pointed out that he would “pay a lot of money to be that horse”. Naturally, the image we were looking at was a photograph of a brunette goddess seductively sprawled across a white stallion. It seemed that the only excuse for putting it up in a gallery was that she had become part of a “collage”.
By the end of this rather entertaining evening at Castle Fine Art, I decided that I would be coming back for another opening. Certainly not to buy any art – I couldn’t afford it if I wanted to, Mazzucco’s work started at a cool £17,000 – but to enjoy the delicious free food, which included some absolutely stunning Scotch Eggs and heavenly grissini, a whole array of delicate bruschetta and a collection of gourmet cheese puffs. Gordon Ramsay would have been proud, Chris Dercon not so much.
Raphael Mazzucco is at Castle Fine Art until 13th July