Since landing their first front cover, for Dazed & Confused in 1997, Mert & Marcus have pushed the boundaries of fashion photography, blurring the lines between artistry and commercial shoots.
Their distinctive and powerful photographs of models and celebrities, including Madonna, Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian, have featured in cult publications such as i-D, Love, and Face magazines, as well as top tier titles Vogue and Vanity Fair. The trendsetting pair are coveted by luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent, and given huge budgets to work on their international campaigns.
Both born in 1971, Mert Alaş in Ankara, Turkey, and Marcus Piggott in Wales, the pair met at a party in Hastings in 1993 and quickly bonded over a love of art and clubs. A classical music student, Alaş came to the UK to further his English, while also doing some part-time modelling. Piggott was a graphic designer and an assistant photographer.
Working together over the past two decades, the dynamic duo have carved out a reputation with their striking images and evolving, eclectic style: their versatility reflecting the broad spectrum of influences they draw on, from favourite photographers, to art, their travels and subject matter. Mert & Marcus pore over every detail: hair, make-up, styling, set and theme, their discerning aesthetic coming to the fore each time.
In 2013, Alaş told American Photo Magazine: “Our job is to create an identity for brands so people can relate to them. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hold any artistic value within that process.”
Indeed, such is the desire for this iconic pair’s work that renowned contemporary art auction house Phillips and Art Partner, a leading artist management agency, have teamed up to create a landmark selling exhibition: Mert and Marcus: Works 2001-2014. The retrospective will debut at Phillips Gallery in London, before travelling to Paris the following week.
Showcasing contemporary fashion photography as art, this exclusive selection includes previously published Mert & Marcus works, which explore feminine beauty and power. Subjects include Kate Moss, Cara Delevinge, Lara Stone and Guinevere van Seenus.
The 18 images – 9 black-and-white and 9 colour – are glamorous, playful and provocative. On sale for the first time, each of the works is available in a sheet size of 30 x 40 inches in an edition of five with a starting price of £16,000 framed.
Non-buying visitors to the exhibition are also welcome. Entrance is free.
Title: Mert and Marcus: Works 2001-2014
London exhibition dates: Monday 24 October to Thursday 3 November 2016
Gallery opening times: 10am – 6pm Mon-Sat, and 12-6pm Sun.
Venue address: 30 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6EX
Main photo above: Mert & Marcus, Parallel Lines, 2006 © Mert & Marcus