“They had invented a world in their own image, with their own gods and their own ceremonies. It wasn’t just about sexuality, though of course this was a large part. It was about being. The application of makeup each night was one in which a mask was taken off, not put on. I wanted to document this process of liberation.”
Magnus Arrevad’s Boy Story project is a journey through the international, subterranean world of male performers, burlesque, go-go dancers, cabaret singers and porn stars. As we travel through dimly lit dressing rooms, bars and bedrooms in New York, Berlin, Paris, London, Copenhagen (as well as County Sligo in Ireland and a trailer park in Tacoma) we are introduced to Go-go Harder, EvilHateMonkey, The Luminous Pariah, BigChief Random Chaos, Dusty Limits, Blanche DuBois and many others (“the real Hedwigs” as the New York Times referred to Arrevad’s subjects).
Unlike the myriad of ‘burlesque performance’ photographic works, Arrevad chose instead to focus on the performers off-stage, often in their most vulnerable moments, often applying make-up or getting into costume. Coupled with his singular ability to remain both inside and outside a scene, this allows him to display the poignancy and vulnerability of his subjects alongside their sexual charge. The images of these often very private moments push the viewer into the position of voyeur.
“The performances are debauched, magical and often hilarious, but underpinning it all is a grave sense of purpose; to bring the dream of oneself into being. What the subjects of Boy Story have allowed me to do is to watch them constructing their inner selves.”
LONDON SHOW OVER
NEW SHOWS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON
SILVER GELATIN PRINTS
Hand-printed in London on archival fiber paper.
Signed and numbered on reverse.
Each image is available in two sizes.
24″ x 19.5″ (61 cm x 50 cm)
Edition of 12
38″ x 31″ (97 cm x 79 cm)
Edition of 7
Prices on request.
“I wanted to make a series of images that shared the composition aesthetics of the Old Masters, but took the subterranean world I know and love as its subject.”
IN THE NEWS
“As they applied each layer of makeup, I saw their true self being revealed, not obscured.”
THE BOY BEHIND THE STORY
Magnus Arrevad’s photography is urban poetry, bringing out truths far more important than mere facts.
Arrevad’s great success is to make work that appears eternal rather than clever or gimmicky: his work is affecting because it is not affected. One becomes, in succession, first awestruck, then immersed in his world. He captures not just the physicality of his subjects, but the highly personal energy that burns inside them. It’s a combination of his dedication – truly studying his world, rather than taking a few snaps – and his unrivalled ability to show the frail, human essence of his subjects. His style does not draw attention to itself – this is as it should be. Yet it is instantly recognizable. He has exhibited isolated works at exhibitions in New York, London, Brussels and Maastricht, but his serious work over the last half-decade has been Boy Story (2009 – 2014), his first major photographic series, a comprehensive worldwide study of the world of male performance.
Born in Copenhagen, he now divides his time between London and Berlin. He is currently at work on a second long photographic series and his first major theatrical work.