Stephan Lupino, or Lupino as he is known to his legions of admirers, is recognised as a global phenomenon in the world of modern art through his prodigious collections of photography, paintings and sculpture which interweave complex and recurring themes of sensual desire, vulnerability, lost innocence, abandonment and the quest for redemption. These themes are articulated through often subversive references to popular culture, organised religion, lost innocence and tribal rituals. Lupino’s style is clearly visible in the visceral and highly physical executions which give a power, beauty and dynamism to his art, coined by the artist as Lupinizam.

In the 1980s, when New Yorkers were attracted to art, Lupino represented the art of the time. Mingling with celebrities and media power brokers Lupino was in the very centre of the vortex that was the New York club scene and was celebrated in magazines throughout the world including Vogue, L’Espresso and Playboy.

Even then, in the early stages of his career, he had begun to assimilate the magical characteristics of signs, shapes and colours and the impressions of New York curators and artists. He immersed himself in this environment, the nexus of the New York art world and it became a part of him. Photography what his medium of expression.

For a long time, he was satisfied with his work as a photographer, using mechanical and technological tools to capture the essence of living images. Over time, however, he developed a need for something more, for a different form of expression that was truly his own and unique to his own experiences.

Making sketches on scraps of paper, his Ideas began to emerge. Hundreds of sketches, each displaying some aspect of his vision of life through his part, have led him to where he is today.

The world in 2016 is not the same as it was the 1980s, and neither is Lupino. His contemporary voice manifests his creativity through his paintings, reliefs and sculptural pieces. He imposes no artificial limits on his designs. Each design brings its own form of expression, And that may be executed in one, two or even all three of the media he works in. His variations of a design idea flow with the dictates of the materials.

His vision captures the essence of life – eroticism – as its basis. Eroticism is the thematic core of all of Lupino’s work. Everything develops from it: Every ugliness and beauty; every cryptic attraction and paradox spread from this core. His work celebrates the broadest spectrum of life and love, from the goddess Aphrodite to modern Eve-like temptresses, hermaphrodites, predators, bisexuals, voodoo dancers, models, lesbians, great lovers like Caesar and Cleopatra, icons of the 20th century such as Marilyn Monroe and many more.

In his sculptures, Lupino’s interpretation of reality, his transformations of the ordinary into the extraordinary, are forged through his use of the various media and the tools he employs in the metal and woodworking materials and equipment, in the welding, reforming and polishing of metals, the shaving of layers of wood. He exposes shapes, layers, paint and texture and imbues materials with his vision. His interpretations of humour and irony, curiosity, symbolism and so very much more are just some of what is expressed in his work.

His wood and metal sculptures are both attractive and hideous at the same time with their composition of finely sculpted wood and sharp metal components. His incorporation of those elements into his decorative art (furnishing) pieces draw us in.

In his Chair series (Ongoing), he transforms the furniture into a metaphor for power, corruption, strength and superiority. Notably, his subjects include Julius Caesar, Mao and Putin. Do we dare to sit on his chairs or just admire them from afar? 

Lupino creates three-dimensional larger-than-life sculpted forms. His bronze majesties – on fire -, shaped first by hand in clay and then cast in bronze, are anchored in time and place but somehow soar beyond their earthly confines, reaching out to…the stars?…the unearthly reaches of space and time? What magical journey are they leading us on? 

His latest incarnations in the Another World (2016) collection, go further. Lupino creates a family of aliens whose superior other world gazes look above and through us. The sculptures reference Venus di Milo, Madonna and Child but are clearly not of this world, strangely beautiful but devoid of emotion.

Lupino also recreates icons of worship using ancient woods, metals and figurative expression from both East and West in his Cross series and Masks from Africa.

Lupino’s Art rewards close scrutiny at exhibition as the pieces are infused with a troubled energy, a raw beauty, the discomforting impermanence of human existence. However, buried in the pieces is a sense of the redemptive power of faith. This is at the heart of his Lupinizam philosophy.

On the canvas, Lupino again expresses the sensual nature of the human form. His painted subjects, entwined, embracing couples and human forms, meld into a dynamic wavelike pattern. Life becomes a dance, a rhythm of nature. Later paintings express the theme of Paradise Lost and, in contrast to the colourful figures, there are dark forebodings of a Hell to come.

In his photographic work, Lupino creates an intimate rapport with his subject, usually cast in a provocative pose. He has an uncanny ability to capture the subject’s inner feelings – desire, strength, hedonism, insouciance, vulnerability compounded by his or her state of undress. Natural lighting and a distaste for post-production are evident in these photographic works of art.

For simplicity, his photographic work can be categorised into the following collections: Vintage, celebrities, male portraits and studies, female portraits and studies. For a detailed look at some of his finest work, visit http://stephanlupino.photography