At the centre of this exhibition are William’s super-sized painted contacts, which have been an enduring feature in museum exhibitions throughout William’s career, including shows at the Tate Modern (2012-2013), the Centre Pompidou (2005), and the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (until September 2019). Painted Contacts + Photographs marks the first time that these large-scale Lightjet c-prints are available to the public. This exhibition includes previously unreleased works from the series.
The works in Painted Contacts + Photographs represent the totality of William Klein’s artistic practice by combining iconic aspects of his photographic, cinematographic, and painting career. The pieces on view span iconic moments in fashion and street photography including Smoke + Veil; Muhammad Ali, Miami; and Gun 1. They reference William Klein’s key films such as Muhammed Ali, The Greatest (1969) and In and out of fashion (1994). The scale of these works and their graphic paint strokes reference Klein’s earliest painted panel works, for which he first gained international attention.
At over two metres long, the super-sized painted contacts render Klein’s brush strokes larger-than-life and create a feeling of walking into William Klein’s world. Kinetic lines, circles, and crosses and bold patches of colour cut across the black and white photographs. The action captured in the photographs—which is already highlighted by the multi-frame contacts—is therefore further accentuated. There is no standing still in the realm of William Klein.