Saturday, July 01, 2006

Gregory Crewdson in Winterthur

On my walls, you'll see three art posters and a world map. Two of the posters are prints of paintings by Edward Hopper, the American artist (Gas and New York Office). In rough strokes, he paints images of people in buildings, often alone, often sad. I like his style and the way he deals with ordinary lives of ordinary people.

Gregory Crewdson is to photography what Edward Hopper is to painting. When I saw a poster advertising an exhibition of his pictures at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, I knew I had to pay a visit.

Crewdson's motifs are American suburbia and rural landscapes. Most of his pictures are taken around Pittsfield, MA, where he drives around for days to find just the right spot. The right spot, of course, is a nondescript corner of the town, with small commercial buildings or residential homes built in a style that I associate with New England.

There, he stages little dramas. Disaffected people are pictured in quiet loneliness. A story is being told. Something strange and surprising just happened.

The images are beautiful and dreamlike, and undercut with something fearful.

Crewdson's pictures aren't snapshots: They are elaborately prepared. A video at the exhibition showed a 60-man crew preparing a photo shoot at a North Street intersection in Pittsfield. A nondescript car with a woman in the passenger seat stands in the middle of an intersection. The driver side door is wide open, but the driver is nowhere to be seen. For this shot, the street was blocked off for almost an entire day; it was sprayed with water and fog machines clouded up the background. Many photos were taken, but only one was produced: The final, perfect image is often put together in Photoshop, from perfect pieces of all shots, to create a Spielbergian moment.

While there are many similarities to Hopper – lonely people, attention to light – there are also differences. Hopper doesn't care for mysteries and his pictures aren't fine-tuned to perfection, but are painted in rough strokes. Hopper also didn't need Photoshop. Clement Greenberg once said: "Hopper is simply a bad painter. But if he were a better painter, he would probably not be such a great artist."

The exhibit continues through August 28, 2006 at the Fotomuseum Winterthur. Gregory Crewdson, 43, is a photographer and art professor at Yale University.

1 comment:

ralfgugginger said...

danke für die info.der mann war mir bis jetzt unbekannt.
auf flickr lässt sich dazu auch einiges finden