Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gregory Crewdson: Twilight + Sanctuary

Back in 2002, Crewdson had an exhibition entitled 'Twilight' at the White Cube Gallery in Hoxton Square, which according to the photographer: 'explored the relationship between the domestic and the fantastical'. It is the combination of the unnerving calm and overpowering contemplation of the characters in Crewdson's photos which engage me; I instantly find myself wanting to know more.

Up until a couple of weeks ago he had another exhibition at White Cube's Mason's Yard gallery. This show was called 'Sanctuary'. I didn't see either of the exhibits sadly, as the first I had had heard of Crewdson was a few days ago when Alpines' drummer, Henry, came to the studio where we are recording the album and introduced me to his work.

As soon as I saw Crewdson's photos, they instantly reminded me of Edward Hopper's paintings. An obvious and probably commonly made comparison. Hopper, the American realist painter, manages to create a cinematic feel in most of his paintings. In particular, the urban settings where the lighting is often harsh and the interaction between the characters minimal. The most famous painting being Nighthawks (1942).

The selection of photos below, entitled 'Sanctuary', show a dramatic contrast to 'Twilight'. There is a peacefulness to these shots which one doesn't feel in the 'Twilight' series. I also gain a feeling of nostalgia, as they make me envisage a world in the past that is long forgotten. The compositions enforce the viewer to search through alleyways and across deserted squares into the distance, where there will often be a doorway awaiting your imagination. We, the viewer do the work, we imagine what is beyond the immediate moment.


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