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This exhibition focuses on the formal elements of both artists’ works, irrespective of their sexuality. What both Mapplethorpe and Sayles share is a passion for precision, perfect lines rendering form, which is then heightened by severe contrast. Ultimately, it is the use of black and white, light and dark, which addresses both the influence and tension of the late American photographer on the large format graphite drawings on paper by the English artist living and working in Berlin.

Organized in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the juxtaposition brings face to face eight selected photographs rarely exhibited – and for some subjects, out of the known taxonomy of S&M, black bodies, flowers, children, or portraits – with eight drawings by Michael Sayles based on ethnological iconography morphed with contemporary fetish objects.