It’s strangely fitting that the California born, New York-based artist Peter Schlesinger should have risen to prominence in a fashion worthy of receiving cinematic treatment.
Then an 18-year-old student, Schlesinger met the British artist David Hockney in 1966 when the painter was teaching a summer course in drawing at U.C.L.A. The two famously became lovers, and Schlesinger figures prominently as Hockney’s muse in many of his most famous works and as a central figure in the story of the artist’s life. Through Hockney, Schlesinger was also introduced to a coterie of the many high profile creative figures who shaped the 20th century and to those friends who would become the famous subjects of his remarkably candid, intimate portraiture: Cecil Beaton, Paloma Piccaso and the fashion designer Ossie Clark, amongst others. Still working in ceramics to this day, Schlesinger has also released two volumes documenting his personal photographs from the late 20th century, Checkered Past and Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989. His third photographic release, with Gucci, takes a decidedly different tack.
Disturbia, the latest in its occasional series of limited-edition publications produced at Gucci under the watch of incumbent creative director Alessandro Michele, showcases the wares of the latter’s pre-fall 2018 collection as lensed through Schlesinger’s singular eye. The photographer, who usually works alone, shot the label’s lookbook in Rome with a sizeable team, not unlike a film set. Disturbia is comprised off the shoot’s cinematic outtakes, moments staged and captured at “Aula Magna” of Ospedale Odontoiatrico George Eastman (a dental hospital) and Quartiere Coppedè. The images themselves take their cues directly from the films of cult Italian auteur, Dario Argento. Excerpts from the screenplay of Inferno, Argento’s 1980 film, appear next to select images in the book; likewise, locations for the shoots were selected for their also being used in Argento’s Inferno and L’Uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo. In an apt twist of fate, the director Luca Guadagnino, a friend of the house and the director of Call Me By Your Name, is currently in the process of remaking Argento’s cult horror classic, Suspiria, starring his recurrent collaborators Tilda Swinton and (Gucci ambassador) Dakota Johnson (Guadagnino’s version, however, was shot in Berlin).
Disturbia will be distributed by IDEA, a London-based independent publisher, from today, May 3, and is limited to 1,000 copies sold at selected stores including Dover Street Market London, Ginza and Singapore, Comme Des Garçons Trading Museum, Paris, 10 Corso Como Milan and Seoul, Daikanyama T-Site Tokyo and online at IDEA.
Tile and cover image: Peter Schlesinger/Courtesy of the artist and Gucci