David Zwirner is pleased to present Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Titled Thousand, the show consists of an extraordinary installation of 1,000 of the artist's Polaroid photographs.
In late 2007, steidldangin published Thousand, a book containing actual-size reproductions of diCorcia's 1,000 Polaroids, edited down from a collection of 4,000 spanning close to twenty-five years. In 2008, the Polaroids were installed for the first time at an exhibition of the artist's work held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
One of the most influential photographers working today, diCorcia is known for creating images that balance precariously between documentary and staged photography, fact and fiction. Cumulatively, these 1,000 Polaroids, which are considered one complete work, offer a distinctive vantage point into the artist’s sensibility and visual preoccupations. At David Zwirner, the Polaroids are displayed at eye-level on a long thin aluminum railing attached to the gallery's main walls, continuing into additional interior, spiral-like spaces built for this installation. The sequencing of the images reveals a deeply personal associative logic and artistic narrative that encapsulates the barrage of information and experiences encountered over the course of a lifetime.
Seen alongside Polaroids from some of diCorcia's most recognized bodies of work and distinctive series–Hustlers, Streetwork, Heads, Lucky Thirteen–are intimate scenes with friends, family members, and lovers; self portraits; double-exposures; test shots from commercial and fashion shoots; the ordinary places of everyday life, such as airport lounges, street corners, bedrooms; and still life portraits of common objects, including clocks and lamps.
In his early works in the late-1970s and 1980s, diCorcia captured his friends and family in domestic tableaux, making his images from the subject matter of his life. In the 1990s, he turned to the great American tradition of street photography epitomized by Walker Evans, Gary Winogrand, Robert Frank, and others. Made between 1990 and 1992 in Los Angeles, Hustlers features male prostitutes in motel rooms, sitting in bus stops, and hanging out on street corners. Streetwork, an ambitious international project done in the 1990s, captures anonymous and seemingly detached city people and the proverbial man in the street, while illuminating the unconscious choreography and infinite events that occur in daily urban life. This unique visual travelogue covers New York, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Naples, Hong Kong, Tokyo, among other cities. For Heads, all shot in New York in 2000 and 2001, diCorcia used a long-lens camera and a remotely triggered flash to zoom in on people’s faces. Set against black backgrounds, the individuals seem to be illuminated by divine light and emerge as random archetypes of a contemporary city. The next project, A Storybook Life, is a non-chronological compilation of seventy-six photographs taken over twenty years. Originally conceived as a book, which was published in 2003, the work was later presented as an installation. From 2003 to 2005, he made the series Lucky Thirteen, where strip-club pole dancers appear alone on a sterile, yet theatrical stage, rarely upright and usually suspended upside down or simply hanging onto the pole.