Background images credits  

Untitled, 2001
C-print, Diasec
122 x 152,4 cm
Courtesy the artist, DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Luhring Augustine, New York
© Gregory Crewdson

Untitled, 1998
C-print, Diasec
135,5 x 152,4 cm
Courtesy the artist; DZ Bank Kunstsammlung; Luhring Augustine, New York
© Gregory Crewdson  

It is above all through the virtuoso use of light that the artist creates images of great impact and visual fascination. Every photograph entails the construction of complex set by a team of professionals who work with Crewdson like a cinematographic troupe, including set designers, lighting technicians, makeup artists and extras. It is therefore no coincidence that the artist has used film stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore and William H. Macy to play the leading roles in some of his series. At the same time, it is impossible not to compare the photographs of Gregory Crewdson with the visual language of celebrated American directors like David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.
Crewdson’s works are, however, the result of complex digital editing. The perfect focusing of all the elements and the different spatial planes is obtained by assembling portions of different images with their own specific focus. The identical depth of field throughout the composition gives equal importance and visibility to all the different parts of the scene, thus producing an effect of hyper-reality and “hyper-visuality”. Every single detail present in the image is clearly captured as though in a pictorial work.
Even though Crewdson bases his work on this crossing of genres, he can be described as a photographer in the literal sense of someone who makes pictures with light, which clearly plays the leading role in his visual world. This is how he succeeds in altering and manipulating the atmosphere of commonplace scenes of everyday life and small-town America so as to open up new horizons that stretch far beyond what we see and are laden with deep and unprecedented psychological and conceptual meaning.

Untitled, 1998
Untitled, 2001
Exhibition views
© Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze; Valentina Muscedra

Gregory Crewdson (USA, 1962)

Gregory Crewdson’s photographs look like high-definition stills from lavish Hollywood movies. Rigorously composed and captured in a simultaneously dense and rarefied atmosphere, the images are divorced from a possible context or presumed chain of events, which the viewer can only attempt to reconstruct through free interpretation. Set in the American provinces, the scenes are steeped in a disturbing, dream-like atmosphere and seem to be fuelled by the spectres of the collective American unconscious. Crewdson’s photographs reveal the dark side of an American dream in danger of turning into a nightmare: no longer a drive for social status and success but a descent into the abyss of the human spirit, into emptiness and solitude. Crewdson’s heroes are isolated figures iconically crystallized and endowed with symbolic value.

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Palazzo Strozzi

Olivo Barbieri (IT)
Sonja Braas (DE)
Adam Broomberg &
Oliver Chanarin
Gregory Crewdson (USA)
Thomas Demand (DE)
Elena Dorfman (USA)
Christiane Feser (DE)
Andreas Gefeller (DE)
Andreas Gursky (DE)
Beate Gütschow (DE)
Osang Gwon (KR)
Tatjana Hallbaum (DE)
Ilkka Halso (FI)
Robin Hewlett &
Ben Kinsley
Rosemary Laing (AU)
Aernout Mik (NL)
Saskia Olde Wolbers (NL)
Sarah Pickering (UK)
Moira Ricci (IT)
Cindy Sherman (USA)
Cody Trepte (USA)
Paolo Ventura (IT)
Melanie Wiora (DE)