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Michael Hoppen Gallery – Guy Bourdin’s Walking Legs

During his lifetime, fashion photographer Guy Bourdin was beyond prolific, he was ground-breaking in the fashion industry for imbuing his photographs and advertisements with a striking, and at times troubling, artistic and surrealist edge. After his death, he became a legend. But what extended well beyond his lifetime was the enigma which surrounded him. Bourdin was known for never having published a book or put on an exhibition during his lifetime. And in death, his works remained some of the most closely guarded in the industries of fashion and photography. So it is then with immense prestige that Michael Hoppen Gallery for contemporary art in London has the honor of unveiling some of Bourdin's most iconic photographs– those of the Walking Legs.

Coinciding with Bourdin's retrospective 'Image-Maker' at the Somerset House, Michael Hoppen's curation of the rare photographs and decision to focus on his most famed series reveals the most quintessential Bourdin. Bourdin's "Legs" were created as an advertisement for Charles Jourdan shoes for French Vogue in 1979 after he was introduced to the magazine's editor in chief in the 1950's, after which his photographs appeared on the French magazine's pages for three consecutive decades. The Michael Hoppen Gallery's concentration on this particular series reveals the influence that Bourdin's mentor, Surrealist artist Man Ray, had on his work. By placing severed mannequin legs against quintessential British countryside backdrops Bourdin created a jarring feeling of the uncanny with an almost comical touch. While the retrospective Image-Maker, presents a massive reflection on Bourdin's work, The Michael Hoppen Gallery offers a rare look into some of the artist's most iconic, and significant creations.

Photography credits:

Guy Bourdin - Charles Jourdan, 1979 © Guy Bourdin Estate. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Please note the Guy Bourdin Estate / Art & Commerce, have the following regulation for the use of these images:

- None of the images can be cropped in any capacity and all must run with the given credit information in full.