Miles Aldridge Retrospective at Fotografiska, Berlin 

23rd February 2024
Miles Aldridge Fotografiska Berlin

Miles Aldridge’s first major retrospective ‘Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn’ is now on view at Fotografiska in Berlin. This exhibition, covering the years 1999 to 2020, has been described as an “exhilarating ride through Aldridge’s universe”, a remark that agrees with the analysis of the filmmaker David Lynch, who has said that “Miles sees a colour-coordinated, graphically pure, hard-edged reality.”

The title of the exhibition refers to Aldridge’s three main strands of conscious influence. ‘Virgin Mary’ is a slightly satirical reference to the religious, historical work of painters like Caravaggio with their dramatic lighting and composition; ‘Supermarkets’ denotes our alienation within consumerist society and the artificial promises of emotional development through consumption; ‘Popcorn’ is a more direct reference to the role of cinema as an important influence for Aldridge. In particular, the filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock, Frederico Fellini and Lynch have been considerable sources of inspiration for Aldridge’s style and approach.

Miles Aldridge, Virgin Mary
Miles Aldridge, 3D

The most striking theme of the section of Aldridge’s extensive oeuvre on display in ‘Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn’, is a dramatic meeting of exuberant material luxury and despondent, alienated consumers. Bright interiors furnished with the trappings of gaudy suburban comfort enclose around uninterested, figurine-like characters. Aldridge’s domestic subjects, glamorous and beautiful while almost entirely lacking in agency, present emotional depths through their isolation and apathy.

Throughout the exhibition more overtly surreal scenes sumptuously undercut the horror of suburbanite dysfunction – each is treated with the same intense stylisation and a camp supremacy of glamour. Aldridge conflates modern forms with historic motifs and religious iconography to build a tortured, if sometimes humorous, world in which everything looks artificial.

Miles Aldridge, 'Untitled (after Cattelan) #3'

In ‘Unittled (after Cattelan) #3’, for example, one corner of a large ball-room is lit as if it were a rudimentary stage. Through one of the two sets of imposing double doors, one glimpses several immobile bodies covered with sheets. Two characters populate the ballroom: one stands in the corner, bald and moustachioed. Dressed in a blue-suit, he looks something like an untrustworthy airline pilot. The other is a tall woman, standing naked and indifferent with a bright red hairspray wig which strikes out against the softly lit blue-white walls. The two are unaware of one another, or perhaps uninterested. Between them a horse’s entire body, up to the neck, hangs as a taxidermy ornament.

‘Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn’, the first retrospective of one of Britain’s most influential living photographers is on display at Fotografiska Berlin until 5 May 2024. SOL LDN is delighted to offer our collectors works by Miles Aldridge including some of those on display in this crucial exhibition.

FeaturedMiles Aldridge

Portrait of Miles Aldridge (Peter Lindbergh)
Portrait of Miles Aldridge

The ArtistMiles Aldridge’s work is noted for its saturated colour, eroticism, elaborately styled set design and cinematic glamour.

Artist Page


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