Conceptual artist/filmmaker/photographer Stan Douglas presents a new body of work that was created in 2010, but made to appear like it might have been made in the 1950's. Douglas and crew shot black-and-white digital images, which were printed with a Lightjet onto traditional silver-gelatin fiber paper, of actors in situations that one might have found in a mid-Twentieth centrury newspaper, catalog or company's files. They are a bit off, though, in a good way, and point to a possibility that something may be askew: a terrifying clown with juggled ball in mid-air, a set of Chinese linking rings that might (or might not) reveal the magician's trick, a "whatsit?" jumble of old-time wires and buttons in a wooden drawer - entitled just "Machine, 1948." With a wink and a nod to Weegee, the show takes you back in time, but keeps you hovering there, everywhere and nowhere all at once.
The press release says that "Douglas has assumed the role of a fictional, anonymous photographer to create a series of images hypothetically produced between 1945-1951. To do so, he constructed a veritable “midcentury studio” using authentic equipment as well as actors to produce carefully staged, black-and-white photographs that painstakingly emulate the period’s obsession with drama, “caught-in-the-moment” crime-scenes, curious and exotic artifacts, magicians, fashion, dance, gambling, and technology."
A fully illustrated catalogue, edited by Tommy Simoens, will be published by Ludion Press on the occasion of the show, featuring an introduction to Midcentury Studio by the artist and essays by Christopher Phillips and Pablo Sigg.
David Zwirner Gallery, at both 525 and 533 West 19th Street, NYC
Through April 23, 2011