Berlin - Don't expect refinement and taste at a major new photography exhibition in the NRW Forum: it is celebrating all things kitsch and trashy.

Bling Bling Baby is inviting visitors to revel in crude opulence, with more than 100 photographs of models adorned with over-the-top jewellery, of luxurious flower arrangements and of brightly coloured mountain landscapes.

The 33 artists on display in the NRW Forum, a top European art gallery located in the German city of Dusseldorf, include Rankin, David LaChapelle and Pierre et Gilles.

The exhibits on show belong to art history, says curator Nadine Barth. But many people found it difficult to accept bling as art.

“But even in the baroque and romantic periods, there were paintings we would call kitsch today,” Berlin-based Barth explained to us.

Glitter and gaudiness are most at home in the world of pop music.

Photographers like Martin Schoeller and David LaChapelle capture Jeff Koons, Naomi Campbell, Elton John and Michael Douglas in glittery jackets and thick makeup. The effect is to make them look absurd and exaggerated - and thereby show how glamour can turn into farce.

DPA