The photographs of Gregory Crewdson portray the world of small American towns as an unfathomable cinematographic dream. Upon the water-covered floor of a living room, a female figure in white lingerie lies staring at the ceiling with glazed eyes. A prefabricated wooden house along the murky street of a small town is surrounded by perplexed firemen and policemen. A girl in pyjamas stands stiffly in front of a school bus which, shining in warm yellow, waits in front of her house in the middle of the night. Proceeding from Freud‘s essay concerning the Uncanny, the photographer, who was born in 1962 in New York, has been creating ever since the middle of the 1980s pictures filled with seductive beauty along with fundamental irritation and disquiet. Himself an influential teacher at the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Crewdson combines in his photography the principles of the two major schools of photography at Yale.
On the one hand, the works constitute themselves as a painstakingly realistic survey of rural America and thereby link up with the documentary attitude of Walker Evans or Gary Winogrand. On the other hand this oeuvre, through its theatrical handling of light, its inclusion of grotesque and uncanny elements, and its unmitigated adherence to narrative complexity, carries on the highly significant tradition of staged photography which was developed by Cindy Sherman and which, at the latest with Jeff Wall, has demonstrated itself to be one of the most important forms of expression in artistic photography. The most important point of reference for Gregory Crewdson is without a doubt the visual world of American Hollywood cinema, especially the films of David Lynch or Steven Spielberg‘s epochal science fiction classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, whose narrative logic he continues to condense and reduce until it can be compressed into individual images. In his search for the mysterious in the quotidian, which can especially be found there where the world still seems to be in order, just as in the works of Stephen King, Crewdson is able to create in a riveting manner images of a society which is just as alienated from itself as is the porous and by now fragile texture of reality through which it moves.
Gregory Crewdson‘s exhibition in the Kunstverein Hannove represents the first European-wide institutional survey of this fascinating oeuvre and includes all important blocks of works, beginning with the early works of the 1980s and continuing with “Natural Wonders,” “Hover,”“Twilight” and “Dreamhouse,” all the way to the most recent works, which were created during the course of 2004.
Accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue and an edition, the exhibition will travel after its first station in Hannover to the Krefelder Kunstmuseen (GER, Feb 19–May 14, 2006), the Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH, June 3-August 20, 2006) and the Landesgalerie Linz (A, Sep 6-Nov 19, 2006).