Mario Testino “Undressed” in Berlin

Amazing images at Berlin's Helmut Newton Foundation

The Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin may be one of my favorite museums in Germany. Dedicated to showcasing a rotating collection of images by Newton alongside a selection of works by his contemporaries, the museum is gorgeous -- open and airy, virtually a blank canvas on its own.

The latest exhibition, which opened June 2, combines Newton's works with photographs from Mario Testino and Jean Pigozzi. The smaller June's Room presents images snapped from around Pigozzi's swimming pool in Cap d'Antibes for an exhibit titled, “Pool Party,” but the highlight is 50 of Testino's snapshots in an exhibition titled, “Undressed.”

 Vogue Italia, Paris, 2000  © Mario Testino // Image Courtesy Nadine Dinter PR

Vogue Italia, Paris, 2000  © Mario Testino // Image Courtesy Nadine Dinter PR

Front and center in the museum, nudes and half-dressed fashion images have been printed in larger-than-life formats -- jaw-dropping in their largesse, adorning the museums' walls from floor to ceiling.

Exclusive to the Helmut Newton Foundation, Testino's exhibition is provocative as it combines anatomy and art, fashion and eroticism. It asks visitors to consider the act of undressing. 

The nudity appears natural, neither overdone nor pornographic and provokes emotions in those who take in the display. It's an elevation of fashion photography that moves beyond the material goods and considers the context in which they're worn, the bodies which they adorn.

That's one of the things I love most about Testino's photographs: its portraiture with anonymity. You're an onlooker, not a voyeur. Powerful. Empowering.

 Vogue Paris, Paris, 2001  © Mario Testino // Image Courtesy Nadine Dinter PR

Vogue Paris, Paris, 2001  © Mario Testino // Image Courtesy Nadine Dinter PR

If you're in Berlin, check out the exhibition, running now through November 19 to get a look up-close at what I mean. (ct)