ART – The McCartney family is exporting a little more. From this Wednesday, June 22 and until September 4, the eldest daughter of the famous member of the Beatles Mary McCartney exhibits at Château La Coste, near Aix-en-Provence, a series of photos selected throughout her career, from her beginnings thirty years ago to today.
The exhibition, the first in France for the 52-year-old artist, is called “Moment of Affection” and is being held as part of the Rencontres d’Arles, which opens on July 4. She is happy. “It’s such a beautiful country and it’s always wonderful to exhibit in a new place”, she told us during an interview.
Well known to the British public, his work is much less so here. And yet, at 52, the sister of fashion designer Stella McCartney has made a place for herself in photography, and in particular in the portraits of stars. Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles… We no longer count the number of people to have passed in front of his lens, including the Queen of England.
Elizabeth II made easy
It was in 2015 when she became the UK’s longest reigning monarch. The photo in question was taken at Buckingham Palace. Very intimate, it depicts Elizabeth II in great simplicity, seated at her desk near a window, smiling, in front of an open mailbox. “The light was natural and soft, it reflected a relaxed, very real expression,” comments Mary McCartney.
It does not appear in the selection of Château La Coste. No, what she has decided to exhibit here is different. “Moment of Affection” is an exhibition bringing together photos, most of which have never been shown to the public, and testifying to spontaneous moments supposed to evoke love, desire, mourning, pain and a pan of instantaneous emotions to the one or whoever sees them.
“The idea came to me during the pandemic, explains the photographer. I was alone, without anyone. I then started to share on Instagram these moments that I collect and that I have always collected since my beginnings. Certain memories where people could be close or get together then made so much sense.”
″It breathes love”
In collaboration with her friend Georgina Cohen, one of the patrons of the very famous Gagosian gallery, she then dug into her personal archives to keep only about twenty photos.
Some are frozen, like this moment of tenderness in black and white, where we see the artist’s mother hugging her little sister. It is a personal memory, yet Mary McCartney feels it is universal. “As in art history, it illustrates a typical scene between a mother and her child. We see my sister in her thoughts, while my mother kisses the top of her head. It breathes love”, she concedes.
Mary McCartney has an inspiring memory of her mother, American photographer Linda McCartney, who died at the age of 56 in 1998. She says she grew up always seeing her with a camera under her arm. “She was a great observer”, specifies the one who, at the same time, was greatly marked by the work of Diane Arbus.
The other passion for cooking
Other images are vivid and lively. They seem to be in motion. This is the case of a photo featuring two white horses, a small and a large one, galloping. It’s one of his favorites. “This photo is, in my opinion, the one that transmits the most energy”, she specifies. The dashing encounter between the two equines “gives you the same excitement. It shakes you up, it wakes you up,” she adds.
This picture, which is called frisky, was taken in 2016, in Sussex, UK. It sits on one of the walls of the artist’s studio. “I watch it every day. I never tire of it. Each time, it gives me something different,” she says.
Passionate about cooking, Mary McCartney grew up in a vegetarian family and defends animal rights. Author of several cookbooks on the subject, she also hosts a cooking show in streaming on Discovery +, a program which also earned her a nomination for the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2022.
This passion has no place in the exhibition, but remains closely linked to his work. These two fads “join the idea of bringing people together around what surrounds us, around our common environment, she believes, before concluding: It’s my way of connecting with people.”
See also on The HuffPost: Paul McCartney’s moving tribute to Charlie Watts