Gregory Crewdson, empty passages

It’s wet in all the footage in Gregory Crewdson’s new series. But not cold, in view of the outfits, light, worn by the characters who pose there, on the steps of their hut, on the steps of a bar, or on the threshold of a container, as if they were made of marble .

It is the hour when the streets, the backyards, the facades of the houses, and the hearts, no doubt, too. Because even if it’s no longer raining, everyone looks washed out. Nobody moves. No longer has the strength, no longer the desire, no longer the means.

Something each time hinders movement. A traffic light fallen in the middle of the road blocks the passage and the driver of this stopped car has certainly got out of his vehicle, but only seems able, with his hands in his pockets, to see that he will not pass. His companion, transient silent, does not flinch. No one passes. The cliché, however, opens up wide spaces. All images, taken in the New England area, are taken in a panoramic setting. We can see high and far, to the sides and from behind. But it is a paradoxical panorama which, widening the angle of view, narrows the place of the characters in an immensely desolate landscape. And where no one ventures, moves, emancipates.

Cul-de-sac

This is not surprising for the American artist, who has systematically staged, for twenty years, frozen bodies, beings lost in their thoughts, confused, struck by fate without us ever knowing exactly which one. , leaving the electrifying shadow of a fantastic phenomenon. But this exhibition at the Templon gallery differs from the previous ones (the last one dates back to 2016) in that all the scenes are taken outdoors. Usually, it is in the hollow of their bedroom, on the edge of the bed, or leaning on their kitchen table that the characters plunge into the mists of spleen. There it is outside. In front of a bar, a woman is breastfeeding her infant while looking elsewhere; at the edge of a railway track, boys in BMX have dismounted to watch for the passage of a train (which will not pass). In the cul-de-sac of a vacant lot, young people sitting in saggy sofas contemplate the emptiness of their existence. A photograph of the economic, psychological and physical depression of a declassified America, Crewdson’s works go beyond this realistic framework (even this sociological aim) by infusing an unreal atmosphere.

Moths

The paintings he stages could be images from a film of the end of the world and the haggard resurrection of the human species in the form of the living dead. But Crewdson freezes the story, suspends the events, fragments the scenes, isolates and separates the characters, while here and there the lights of the traffic lights and the lampposts, left on in broad daylight, seem to guide them at the same time as the blind. Crewdson thus entitles his exhibition, “An Eclipse of Moths”, after this phenomenon where the moths cluster in swarms, lost, under the beam of artificial lights. An allegory of the astounding power of photography.


Judicaël Lavrador

Gregory Crewdson An Eclipse of Moths Galerie Templon, 28, rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, 75003. Until January 23. Clean. : www.templon.com

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