Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (17), 2009, Edition of 6, Pigmented inkjet print, Framed: 72.4 x 89.5 cm.

Gregory Crewdson at Cinecitta, the Reality of an Illusion Factory

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (29), 2009, Edition of 6, Pigmented inkjet print, Framed: 72.4 x 89.5 cm.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (10), 2009, Edition of 6, Pigmented inkjet print, Framed: 72.4 x 89.5 cm.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (38), 2009, Edition of 6, Pigmented inkjet print, Framed: 72.4 x 89.5 cm.

 

White Cube Mason's Yard
25-26 Mason’s Yard
St. James’s London
+ 44 (0) 20 7930 5373
Gregory Crewdson: Sanctuary
November 24, 2010-January 8, 2011

Gregory Crewdson photographed Sanctuary, a new series of 41 black-and-white photographs, at Cinecittà studios, Rome, producing a body of work outside of the U.S. for the first time. Crewdson is best known for capturing the alienation and anxiety of small-town America in series such as Beneath the Roses (2003-07),

When Crewdson first visited Cinecittà he found the labyrinthine lots of the legendary studio devoid of human presence, in a state suspended between grandeur and ruin. The site was haunted by the architectural ghosts of ancient Rome, historical New York, and medieval Italy, among other settings and places, all remnants of past productions.

Abandoned by the actors and crews that brought the sets to life, each building and street was eerily quiet, a network of ephemeral façades and dead ends that was so evocative it scarcely needed the artist's intervention. "In these pictures," comments Crewdson, "I draw upon the inherent quietness and uncanny aspects of the empty sets."

Crewdson has in previous series used locations and characters in order to create pictures charged with narrative portent, but for Sanctuary Crewdson decided to make the film sets themselves the subject of the photographs. Despite this change of direction, the artist's vision persists: "As with much of my work," suggests Crewdson, "I looked at the blurred lines between reality and fiction, nature and artifice, and beauty and decay.

A photograph might depict what appears to be the corner of a Roman structure, topped by the statue of a proud emperor, and yet a network of scaffolding supports this supposedly timeless ruin. In another picture, a series of large wooden buildings stretches across the horizon like the background to a cartoon western, yet they are all marked by gaping holes, as if an entire townscape were about to collapse. Nature seems to overcome the sets in some pictures, with trees, vines and weeds engulfing the majestic vistas and brittle buildings. The cool monochrome and intimate scale of the prints lend the pictures an ageless and elegiac intensity, and yet in these empty studio lots Crewdson has found a poignant symbol of our persistent longing for permanence.

A fully illustrated catalogue of the complete series, with an essay by New York Times film critic A O Scott, is published by Abrams to coincide with the exhibition.

Gregory Crewdson was born in 1962 and he lives and works in New York. Museum and public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and the V&A Museum, London. A retrospective of his work opened at Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2005) and travelled to institutions including Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland and the Hasselblad Center, Sweden. A travelling exhibition of his work will open at the Kulturhuset Museum, Stockholm, in February 2011, followed by Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen and c/o Berlin, Berlin.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (24), 2009, Edition of 6, Pigmented inkjet print, Framed: 72.4 x 89.5 cm.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Maple Street), 2003, Digital C-print, 64-1/4 x 94-1/4", Ed. of 6.

The Atmospheric Disquiet of Life and Light on the Home Front

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (moose at canal), Winter 2006, Archival inkjet print, Edition of 6 and 2 Artist's Proofs, 57 x 88".

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Shane), Summer 2006, Archival inkjet print, Edition of 6 and 2 Artist's Proofs, 57 x 88".

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, Summer 2007, Archival inkjet print, Edition of 6 and 2 artist's proofs, 57 x 88".

Gregory Crewdson  Untitled (Ophelia from Twilight),  2001.

 

Gagosian Gallery
456 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills
310-271-9400
Gregory Crewdson
May 3-June 7, 2008

In his latest body of work Crewdson continues to explore his trademarked terrain of small-town disquiet, but in a decidedly restrained mood, with less focus on character and drama and greater emphasis on atmosphere, setting, and the exacting orchestration of light. Retreating from the surrealist theater of confrontation and psychological turmoil that pervaded much of his previous work, he draws the viewer into quieter scenes where isolated or strangely displaced individuals are caught in moments of liminal anticipation. In the interior scenes, framing devices of windows, doorways, and mirrors create layers of separation that allow glimpses of characters immersed in moments of self-reflection; in the exterior scenes, small figures, lost in thought, anchor still and silent vistas.

These haunting pictures were produced in four seasonal cycles of production during 2006-2007, from winter to summer, then winter to summer again. Crewdson's first ever winter scenes depict a small town’s bleak, snowy streets and back lots suffused with cold, gray light, while his summer scenes capture the humidity and dark lushness of the forest and residential neighborhoods.

In all of the pictures — which are untitled except for an occasional identifying detail or whiff of intrigue — the transitory nature of his chosen locations, which include, street corners, front yards, forest clearings, and so on, serves to enhance the pessimism at the core of Crewdson’s perception of provincial American life. Formally, his masterful renderings recall the work of American realists such as Edward Hopper and Walker Evans filtered through the damp, saturated colors of American Luminists such as Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt.

Gregory Crewdson was born in 1962 and received a BA at SUNY, Purchase and an MFA at Yale University. His photographs are included in numerous museums and public collections around the world. A European retrospective of his work began at Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2005) and traveled to institutions including Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; and the Hasselblad Center, Sweden. Crewdson is a faculty member of the Department of Photography at Yale University and lives in New York City.

A book of the entire series Beneath the Roses, of which this body of work is part, is being published by Harry N. Abrams, New York, to coincide with the exhibition.

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, Winter, 2005, Digital C-print, (Blue Period from Beneath the Roses), 64-1/4 X 94-1/4".