Mario Testino – that titan of contemporary portraiture – needs no introduction. Long associated with Vogue, Vanity Fair and houses such as Versace, Gucci and Burberry, the Peruvian-born photographer is irrevocably synonymous with high-fashion, and widely considered one of the most influential practitioners in his field.
Testino has exhibited his work globally – including shows at London's National Portrait Gallery, Buenos Aires' MALBA and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of photography – but never in Denmark. Until now, that is; 12 May will see the opening of the photographer's first-ever show in the country, at GL Strand in Copenhagen.
'Mario Testino: No Limits', running over three levels of the gallery, sets out to explore the juxtapositions between the three distinct – though overarching – themes of his practice: fashion and iconic portraiture; royal portraits (here including images of Denmark's Crown Princess and Crown Prince); and concluding with his austere nudes.
The exhibition will be a wholly original presentation; work outside of these three strands is set to be shown, but the show largely explores the liminal space between these delineations and how Testino's varied expertise causes the characteristics of each to blend so seamlessly.
The curation will also set the photographs in dialogue with the GL Strand's classic, intimate enclaves, reflecting the integral importance of interior aesthetics to Testino's work, particularly in his fashion photography. The air of sensuality is irrefutably seductive, his images both inimitable in their construction, but imbued with a timeless, transcendent beauty.
Though the show is the first of its kind in the city, Testino is a long-time admirer of Copenhagen – it's atmosphere and creative aura pervading the approach he takes to his photography.
'When in Copenhagen I feel a sense of freedom to be and do as you want,' he says. 'I have been attracted to it since the beginning … I did one of my favourite series for V Magazine there on a very hot summer day and I was so inspired by the freedom of the people.'