Contemporary Art

Mario Testino x Idris Khan

By Sotheby's

W ith his inimitable eye, Mario Testino has produced images of the most well-known faces in fashion and film, and works with world's most prestigious publications and brands. He has spoken of his passion for collaboration, and drawing inspiration for his own work from the artists he admires and collects. Here, Idris Khan shares his thoughts on working with Testino on the project Surface Memories after Mario Testino in 2007. 

IDRIS KHAN, SURFACE MEMORIES AFTER MARIO TESTINO, 2007. © MARIO TESTINO AND IDRIS KHAN. 

Mario Testino is a passionate person. Passionate about looking. Passionate about people, and has an incredible eye and desire to show us his world. I first met him when he bought one of my works from my first exhibition in London. He invited me to see it in his home and to interrogate me about my background and how I came to be an artist. Mario has an incredible charming way of getting your whole life out of you in a minute! Then a few years later he asked me to be a part of his exhibition at Yvon Lambert New York, and to create a unique commission for the show. 

 

IDRIS KHAN, SURFACE MEMORIES AFTER MARIO TESTINO, 2007. © MARIO TESTINO AND IDRIS KHAN. 

I asked for something that he had never done before which was to allow me to delve into his personal archive of photographs. Images that couldn't possibly be printed in books. I managed to find all sorts of things, far too sensitive for the public eye! He trusted me to work with these images, and to push them to illegibility and capture something other than its surface — rather it's energy.

 

IDRIS KHAN, CARAVAGGIO...THE FINAL YEARS, 2006. ESTIMATE: 25,000—35,000. 

I produced a triptych called Surface Memories — photographs that compressed over 1500 images into single frames. It was a pleasure and a privilege to look through the personal photographs of Mario Testino, and to be one of the only people on the planet to see a secret world.

 

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