Arnaud Maggs (1926 – 2012) was an artist of rigour, crystal clear vision, humour, and a humbling sense of awe for singular moments and the connections between them. Like other great artists before him, Arnaud Maggs leaves behind a wealth of artistic creation that at once challenges and adds to our understanding of the photographic medium. The Scotiabank Photography Award (SPA) exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) features a selection of work handpicked and poignantly curated by the artist during his final months: Kunstakademie (1980), André Kertész: 144 Views (1980), The Dada Portraits (2010) and After Nadar: Pierrot Turning (2012). Through the exhibition the ever-introspective Maggs allows us a glimpse of the photographer himself.
In 1973, when he was 47 and a successful illustrator and fashion photographer, Maggs decided to become an artist. The production of his first major work, 64 Portrait Studies (1976-1978), laid the foundation for an artistic practice to which he remained devoted. His career was one of continuous development, remarkable technical expertise, incredible attention to detail, and visual brilliancy. Maggs adopted photography as an artistic tool to document people and objects. The history of photography, archival research and process, were all-significant to him. In Spring & Arnaud (a 2013 documentary by Marcia Connolly and Katherine Knight) Maggs, addressing his work, says fittingly: “For me, it’s a record of myself, of my existence.”
The Scotiabank Photography Award (SPA) is designed to raise the international profile of Canada’s leading photographic artists.