Albertina Vienna: Gregory Crewdson Retrospective

The American Gregory Crewdson (*1962, Brooklyn) is one of the most internationally renowned photographers. Since the mid-1980s, Crewdson has been using the backdrop of small American towns and film sets to create technically brilliant and seductively colourful stagings of human loneliness and the abysses of society.

The enigmatic scenes raise the question of the boundary between fact and fiction in a self-reflexive way, but can also be related to socio-political developments. The retrospective at the ALBERTINA Museum comprises a total of nine groups of works created over the last three and a half decades and organised in series.

The exhibition begins with the Early Work (1986-1988), Crewdsons photographic graduation work at the Yale University School of Art. Among other things, it shows the inhabitants of the small town of Lee, Massachusetts, in their domestic environment. With relatively little effort, Crewdson transforms real places into mysterious scenes that depict the suburbs as a place of isolation and anxiety.

Crewdson`s famous series Twilight (1998-2002) can also be seen. In the scenes, which are characterised by the language of cinema, people are confronted with inexplicable phenomena in their everyday lives. The photographs, which Crewdson refers to as ‘single-frame movies’, have many references to classical painting and popular culture.

The mysterious scenes from the series Beneath the Roses (2003-2008), which are captured in impressive large formats, revolve around the theme of loneliness and man’s alienation from his environment.

The most recent series Eveningside (2021-2022) is rendered in atmospheric black and white and paints an unheroic picture of a fictional small town of the same name. Crewdson‘s arrangements position the sitters in space using film noir-influenced lighting and sophisticated motifs such as shop windows and mirrors.

Alongside the series Cathedral of the Pines (2013-2014) and An Eclipse of Moths (2018-2019), the work is part of a trilogy in which the artist examines the social decline of society beyond the American dream.

Crewdson’s large-format photos are preceded by months of planning; they are created with the help of up to hundreds of people from the casting, costume, technical and art departments. The highly elaborate design process, which requires extensive post-production in which the final photographs are compiled from several shots, is characteristic of Crewdson’s work.

In a generous gesture, the exhibition is accompanied by a significant donation to the ALBERTINA Museum’s photography collection. This extensive incorporation of works significantly strengthens the collection’s focus on contemporary photography.

Exhibition dates

Duration 28 May – 9 September 2024
Opening 28 May | 6.30 pm
Exhibition venue Propter Homines Halle | ALBERTINA
Curators: Walter Moser, Astrid Mahler
Works 80


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