Peter Marino delves deep into his collection for a new Robert Mapplethorpe show

Orchid photograph
Orchid, 1988. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
(Image credit: TBC)

On the surface, rugged starchitect Peter Marino and the late Robert Mapplethorpe are a pretty good match, the former’s robust leather daddy look an appropriate bedfellow to the late-photographer’s erotically-charged, occasionally BDSM-heavy work.

The affinity is more than visual though: Marino’s extensive personal art collection includes myriad Mapplethorpe images, and over 90 of these – from nudes to still lifes, flowers to portraits – are currently on view at Tokyo’s Chanel Nexus Hall, in a new exhibition dubbed ‘Memento Mori’, on view until 9 April. The show is a successor to another Mapplethorpe survey Marino guest curated at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac last year (he also appeared in the HBO documentary Robert Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, as one the world’s foremost collectors of Mapplethorpe works).

Marino separated the Nexus Hall (which, on account of conceiving the entire Chanel Ginza building in 2004, he also designed) into three galleries, delineated by subject matter. The ‘formal classicism of architectural bodies’ segues into still lifes and Mapplethorpe’s more sensual – and sordid – ruminations on natural beauty. The first two rooms are conventionally set up, with wood-framed images hung across a white gallery space. The more provocative images in the third room, on the other hand, are set against black, leathery walls – a recognisably Marino gesture.

The show’s title refers to an object kept as a reminder of the certainty of death: prompting us, Marino's firm explains, ‘to think of the ephemeral nature of Mapplethorpe's subject matter and his untimely death’ from AIDS-related complications in 1989. This show, which next moves to Kyoto as part of the Kyotographie International Photography Festival, is merely the latest survey to celebrate the photographer’s extensive, resonant oeuvre.

Watermelon With Knife

Watermelon With Knife, 1986. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

(Image credit: TBC)


Tulip, 1984. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

(Image credit: TBC)

Ken Moody and Robert Sherman

Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, 1984. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

(Image credit: TBC)


Tulip, 1985. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

(Image credit: TBC)


‘Memento Mori’ is on view until 9 April. For more information, visit the Peter Marino Architect website


Chanel Nexus Hall
104-0061 Tokyo


Tom Howells is a London-based food journalist and editor. He’s written for Vogue, Waitrose Food, the Financial Times, The Fence, World of Interiors, Time Out and The Guardian, among others. His new book, An Opinionated Guide to London Wine, will be published by Hoxton Mini Press later this year.