Sprüth Magers

Philip-Lorca Dicorcia

13 May - 18 Jun 2011

© Philip-Lorca Dicorcia
Roid, Installation View Sprüth Magers London, 2011
13 May – 18 June, 2011

Sprüth Magers London is delighted to present ‘Roid’ by American artist Philip-Lorca diCorcia. In his first show at the London gallery diCorcia reveals a series of over 100 never-before-seen Polaroids. Displayed along a rail that traces the contours of the gallery walls, the Polaroids span the 30-year career of one of the most influential photographers of his generation.

DiCorcia first came to prominence in the 1970s with photographs that defied definition, existing in the space between documentary fact and movie-style fiction. The meticulous staging of quotidian scenes of family and friends lent the images an unparalleled sense of heightened drama and ambiguity. In the 1990s diCorcia turned his focus from scenes of domesticity to the American tradition of street photography exemplified by photographers such as Robert Frank and Gary Winogrand. In a seminal series that was retrospectively entitled 'Hustlers', diCorcia photographed men who had moved to Hollywood seeking their fortune, only to find themselves working the Sunset Strip as male prostitutes.

2007 saw the publication of 'Thousand' with Steidl Dangin, a compilation of 1,000 actual-size reproductions of diCorcia's Polaroids that instantly brought a new element of diCorcia's artistic practice into relief. Throughout diCorcia’s work he has used the Polaroid format to augment his photographic projects and with this publication he was able to showcase this technique for the first time. Whilst some of the images were taken as test shots to check lighting and composition, other scenes were conceived specifically to be taken only in Polaroid format, as an entirely separate endeavour. In 'Roid' fresh images from diCorcia's most recognised series - ‘Family and Friends’, ‘Hustlers’, ‘Streetwork’, ‘Heads’, ‘A Storybook Life’, ‘Lucky Thirteen’, and images from his current ongoing series ‘East of Eden’ - are punctuated by intimate moments with family, friends, lovers, and scenes of everyday life ranging from the view from an airplane window to a cluster of dandelion bulbs or an unwashed coffee cup on a simple table-cloth. The installation of the works is of equal importance to the selection of images: by displaying this collection of small photographs together, one after the other on a thin aluminium rail, diCorcia is encouraging an altogether more immediate way of experiencing photography. Indeed, diCorcia's use of Polaroid photography is a conscious attempt to question the current preoccupation with large-scale photographic reproduction.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia was born in 1951 in Hartford, Connecticut and lives in New York. After graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston he earned his Master of Fine Arts in photography at Yale University. He has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship three times and has been awarded grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the International Centre of Photography. Solo shows include: the Photographer’s Gallery, London (1991); ‘Strangers’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1993); ‘Family and Friends’ at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (1997); ‘Hustlers / Streetwork’ at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid (1998); the touring exhibition ‘A Storybook Life’ at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Mesa, Venice, and Centro de Arte Visuais, Coimbra, Portugal (2003); and ‘Thousand’ at the LA County Museum of Art, L.A. (2008). Upcoming solo exhibitions in 2012 include the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg. The touring group show ‘Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera’ comes to the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis in May 2011.

Tags: Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Robert Frank