7 June - 28 August 2006
The famous portrait of Ernesto Che' Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico, photographed by Alberto Korda on 5 March 1960, is one of the most reproduced images in the history of photography. Che Guevara: Revolutionary and Icon will focus on the history of this single image during the past 45 years, bringing together photography, posters, films, fine art, clothing and artefacts from more than 30 countries - from Madonna's album American Life and Jean-Paul Gaultier's sunglasses campaign to Vik Muniz's Che Frijol and Ricky Gervais's Politics dvd.
The popular view of Guevara as young, handsome and charismatic, the revolutionary who died aged 39, inevitably contributes to the mystique surrounding Korda's iconic photograph which captures his enigmatic gaze, an expression of both determination and desire. This image of Che' has come to symbolise anti-establishment thought and action as well as consumer chic. It has inspired art, fashion and culture for the past five decades and is recognisable in its most simplified form.
The exhibition, curated by Trisha Ziff, traces the photograph from its conception to its contemporary appearances; from heroic guerrilla leader and anti-establishment hero through to pop celebrity, radical chic, spoof and kitsch. Korda's Che has moved into the world of caricature and parody at the same time as it is used as political commentary on issues such as world trade, anti-Americanism and Latin American identity.
The wide variety of works on show include art works by Pedro Meyer, Martin Parr and Annie Liebowitz; Larry Towell's photograph of the image grafitti'd on a wall in Bethlehem; films, including clips of The Motorcycle Diaries; and other paraphernalia such as Russian matryoshka dolls, French wine, model cars, cigarette packets and stamps. Also on display will be artworks specific to the UK, such as images of Margaret Thatcher and a recent Christmas advertising campaign...