Press release

 

PHILIP-LORCA DICORCIA

 

8 February - 30 March 2002

 

 

We are pleased to present a solo show of the great American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia. We will be showing works from the HEADS series (2000), already shown with great success at the Gagosian gallery in London and the Pace gallery in New York. Also on the show will be a selection of pieces from the series STREETWORK (1993-99) and HOLLYWOOD (1990-92)

 

 

Philip-Lorca diCorcia was born in Hartford, New Connecticut, in 1951 and already in the 70s became interested in photography while studying at Hartford University. In 1975 ha graduated from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and, on 1997, he gained his Master in photography at Yale University. In the Eighties, diCorcia began to photograph his family in their own domestic setting which he used as though it were a film set. The positions of the people and the objects were established in advance and then lit with a complex system of flash lights. The domestic scene was transformed into an enigma and became the high point of dramatic tale: the man opening the fridge seems to be looking into his very soul, contemplating his failures and desires.

In the 1990s diCorcia, with a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, began a series of photographs dedicated to the Santa Monica boulevards and titled HOLLYWOOD: its subjects were male prostitutes, outcasts and unemployed. The photographic set is prepared in advance, artificially lit and consisting of material found in anonymous hotel rooms or car-parks in the no-man's land of fast-food outlets. He then goes to search for people to photograph offering a recompense for their ‘work'. DiCorcia asks each person's name, age, place of birth, and each photograph has this as its title together with the price paid for the subject's time. The images are purposely fiction made up of real elements.

In 1993 diCorcia began to work in the streets of various cities in the world (New York, London, Naples, Calcutta, Mexico City etc.) and created the series STREET WORK. He portrayed the passers-by and gave up his control over the subjects. After having selected a street corner, he puts his tripod in position and constructs a scaffolding in which he hides the flashlights which will be set off at the moment of taking the photo. The passers-by are illuminated by this dramatic lighting and are changed into unknown actors, their movements virtually becoming part of a film. The lighting, both natural and artificial, confers a particular gravity on their gestures and helps create a magical atmosphere.

From the new photos in the HEADS (2000) series diCorcia adds a strobophobic light and a telephoto lens. The result is a sharply defined portrait rescued from the darkness: there are now portraits instead of panoramas. These images are paradoxically closer, more intimate. In these photos the air is black, but not because of the night. The time is irrelevant. The chosen people are lit from above like spotlights following an actor on stage. Unaware of the telephoto lens, the passers-by are occupied with their own thoughts, their own world. The images seem to capture the instant between sleep and wakefulness, dream and reality.

DiCorcia has taken hundreds of shots in order to arrive at 17 quintessential images: largescale portraits (150x120 cm) of the people of our times and of their thoughts.

DiCorcia has held solo shows at the MoMa in New York, 1993; at the Photographer's Gallery in London, 1996; at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid, 1998, and at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover in 2000. He has also exhibited in numerous group shows all over the world and in important private galleries in the U.S.A., in Europe and in Japan.

 
 
 

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