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ALL IMAGES BY ©PAUL HARTNETT / PYMCA I www.pymca.com

To celebrate a vivid youth culture documented over the last three decades, PYMCA is creating Hartnett – 76 < Now, a retrospective of Paul Hartnett’s impressive photographic work that over the years has painstakingly documented midnight’s children and their club culture from around the world. The PYMCA exhibition will showcase Hartnett images, but will also recreate Leigh Bowery’s 80’s club ‘Taboo’, with its extravagant world of fashion, music and styles. Visuals will be provided from femme fatale Lady Pat.

From London’s New Romantics and Goths to Tokyo’s Harajuku Kids, New York’s electro scene and the new rock world exploding in Paris, PYMCA has selected Paul Hartnett’s work to take viewers to the heart of these scenes, to experience the real life exhibitionalism of youth captured at that time.

Using A Nikon camera bought for £10 at a flea market, Hartnett’s work has gone from photographing fans of the Sex Pistols in Chelsea’s King’s Road and Portobello Market, Steve Strange’s New Romantics in and around London’s Kensington Market and Covent Garden, making friends with the likes of ‘gender benders’ Boy George and Marilyn. Plus design icons such as jewellery maker Judy Blame, design student John Galliano and infamous performance artist Leigh Bowery.

Appearing in style publications such as ‘i-D’, ‘Dazed & Confused’, ‘Tank’, ‘Attitude’, ‘The Independent Magazine and many more. Paul Hartnett’s work is characterised by a poetic appreciation of imperfection, personality and eccentricity. An 18-year-old Paul Hartnett took his first ever nightclub photograph using a Kodak Instamatic camera of Soo Catwoman at Bang Disco in October 1976, and over the ensuing three decades, he has amassed an archive that charts the evolution of international club culture.

In 1995 Hartnett ran the world’s first club for drag kings – women who dress as men. The home of Taboo became a sensation, documenting what has become a historic landmark in gay and lesbian development.

Paul Hartnett’s photographic archive, represented by PYMCA, has a particular focus on individuals who work a strong ‘look’. His portraits are a remarkable and fragile social document, of the inventive and excessive sides of youth through fashion. Ranging from 1976 to now, the archive contains a diverse range of images of youth in all its various guises.

Hartnett’s photography and writing has been published on an international basis and exhibited in London: at the Fine Arts Society – Leigh Bowery Memorial 1996. ICA 2001. Tate Britain in 2002 and 2003 – talk and show. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York ,1995. Kong Gallery, Shanghai, 2006 and many more.

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“What intrigues me are the motivations to dress-up, the resourcefulness and the need to be seen as an individual.” – Paul Hartnett.

“My pictures do not glamourise the subject. If anything it is the bloodshot eyes, gaping pores and psychology beyond the make-up that I want a viewer to probe. The often pathetic and low level functioning of reality of midnight’s children and the sheep-like fashion crowd.” – Paul Hartnett.

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