Robert Mapplethorpe

Gun Blast

1985

Medium
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 508 x 406 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00222

Online caption

Mapplethorpe loved the adrenalin rush of danger and was attracted to the trappings, if not the actuality, of violence. He photographed himself with a knife, a rifle and a whip. Here he captures the moment after a shot has been fired from a revolver, so that the blast particles showing the trajectory of the bullet are clearly visible. Typically for Mapplethorpe he isolates the hand, gun and blast against a dark background and lines everything up in a diagonal that cuts the image into two halves.