Works from the Mario Testino Collection Auction to benefit Museo MATE, Lima Peru
“Art had a transformative effect on my life and I want to give people this same opportunity. I hope through Museo MATE and all its activities we can do that.” -Mario Testino
We know the world of Mario Testino as viewed through the camera’s lens; through the vibrant images that grace the pages of the world’s leading magazines, and through the portraits that have defined and redefined our perception of the most influential figures of our time. But while Testino is known the world over for his photography, his complete immersion in the broader art world, as a collector and a philanthropist, is a story as yet untold.
Later this year, a first, fully-embracing light will be cast on Testino’s personal artistic journey with an exhibition, and ultimate sale, of over 400 works, which form part of his personal collection. Formed over some 30 years, the collection brings together many of the artists Testino most admires, and whose visual language has helped to inform his world and vision. Directed and designed by Testino himself, the imaginatively installed exhibition will reveal the constant and lively dialogue the greatest photographer of our time enjoys with the greatest artists of our time.
Born in Lima in 1954, Testino is passionately committed to his country, deeply aware of its rich history and traditions, and of his indebtedness to all that his upbringing there gave him. In particular, he is committed to nurturing the Peruvian art scene – to creating possibilities for artists there, to expose the wider community to a broad spectrum of international art, to help put Lima on the map as a cultural destination and to awaken Peru’s youth to the power of creative learning. To this end, in 2012 Testino established the not-for- profit Museo MATE in Lima to promote and support culture in Peru. Now focused on taking the work of MATE to the next level, proceeds from the auction will go toward the expansion of the museum’s programme of exhibitions, residencies and education initiatives.
A collector for over three decades, Testino discovered and supported many of today’s leading artists long before they became established names. For him, the dialogue between collecting art and creating art has always been a dynamic one, “the art world is where I feed,” he says, “it opens my eyes to new things and shifts my consciousness”. Artists of a remarkable 45 different nationalities are represented across the sale, ranging from renowned international artists including Richard Prince, Georg Baselitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rudolf Stingel, Sterling Ruby, Gilbert & George and Cindy Sherman, to emerging names from every corner of the globe.
From 8 to 13 September, Testino will take over Sotheby’s London galleries, curating an immersive exhibition to be staged alongside a series of talks by friends and collaborators from the worlds of art, fashion and photography. Two auctions of international contemporary art on
the 13 and 14 September will be followed by an online only sale of photographs collected by Testino. Parallel to the auctions, Testino’s own work will also be presented – demonstrating the energetic dialogue between the artist and the collector, and how they intersect.
The Collection in Focus
The broad-ranging selection exudes Testino’s unique character, revealing an ongoing conversation with fellow artists which has been, and remains, a wellspring of inspiration throughout his career. For Testino, the dialogue with fellow artists has often extended to working collaborations. Cecily Brown, Paul McCarthy, Urs Fischer, Vik Muniz and Albert Oehlen are all artists with whom Testino has directly collaborated and whose work also features in the sale.
Not only does the collection trace his creative journey, but also his physical journey through life. Wherever life has taken him – from arriving in London as an unknown 22 year-old, to travelling the world as the most sought-after photographer of his generation – he has always immersed himself in the local art scene, engaging with galleries and artists, and acquiring the works that speak to him regardless of their fame and stature.
a portrait of Vivien Leigh by the surrealist photographer
Angus McBean. His initial focus was on early and mid-20th
century photography before moving on to more contemporary practitioners including Andres Serrano, Nan Goldin, Adam Fuss and Thomas Demand among others. Moving beyond his own chosen medium, his passion for contemporary art was sparked through his close-friendship with the London-based gallerist Sadie Coles. Through Coles he was introduced to fine artists who were using photography in new ways; artists like Richard Prince who appropriated and transformed images from advertisements and glossy magazines. “It was a great learning curve for me”, Testino says, “exploring how photography can be used in so many different ways”.
The ‘discovery’ of Prince marked a key early moment in Testino’s collecting journey, which has since taken him to almost every corner of the world, embracing works in every medium by the most important artists working today. But while the collection is truly international in its scope, it is at the same time unmistakably that of a passionate and proud Peruvian, with so many of the most important Latin American contemporary artists represented. There is work by the Brazilian artists Adriana Verajão and Vik Muniz, by the Colombian born Oscar Murillo and, of course, works by Peruvian artists including William Cordova and Miguel Aguirre.
Further details on the collection, exhibition and programme of events will be announced in the coming weeks, for more information please visit sothebys.com/ShakeItUp.