Art Gallery - Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
& George Bures Miller - Recent Works
diCorcia - A Storybook Life
One of America’s leading photographers, Philip-Lorca diCorcia combines a documentary tradition with the fictional worlds of cinema and advertising to create a powerful link between reality, fantasy and desire. Alternating between the informality of the snapshot and the iconic quality of a staged composition, his play between real and artificial lighting, his eye for symbolic detail and his saturated colours give diCorcia’s street scenes and domestic interiors a psychological and emotional intensity.
DiCorcia’s works possess a reflective quality that goes against the grain of an image culture of instant consumption. Though immediately arresting, the real meaning of his images unfolds in time. The inner lives of his protagonists are intimated through gesture; glimpsed through doors left ajar or captured in one unguarded moment on a sidewalk, the random moment is woven by diCorcia’s lens into a complex narrative.
His quiet dramas find new expression in two series premiered in this exhibition. In the first room of the exhibition, Two Hours comprises images photographed from one position in the same street in Havana, Cuba over a two hour period. The city becomes a backdrop to the ebb and flow of humanity. Artificial lighting, triggered by the artist and hidden from view, invests the images with a sense of the dramatic that belies their spontaneity.
In the second room A Storybook Life is presented through over 70 works made over 20 years - edited and sequenced to suggest a network of interconnected lives and stories. The same protagonists re-appear at different stages of their lives; strangers come and go. They rarely look at us or at each other. Rather, they are absorbed in their own worlds of reflection beyond the field of the camera.
Domestic interiors and urban and rural landscapes provide a resonant backdrop, cinematically charged with a sense of threat or longing. A white picket -fenced house is perched incongruously in a barren landscape. A lush garden appears in a jungle of concrete and steel. A jumble of unopened Christmas presents languish beneath a heavily decorated tree. Moving between urban and rural, private and public, moments of connection and of intense isolation, A Storybook Life offers an epic view of everyday existence.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia - A Storybook Life is part of an ongoing programme strand at the Whitechapel assessing the work of an internationally renowned artists mid-career. Previous shows have included Jeff Wall (1996), Thomas Schütte (1998), Nan Goldin - Devil’s Playground, Rodney Graham (both 2002) and Cristina Iglesias (2003).
in Hartford, Connecticut in 1951, Philip-Lorca diCorcia has been exhibiting
his work for over twenty-five years and has had solo shows throughout
Europe, Japan and the USA. He teaches at Yale University and lives in
Cardiff and George Bures Miller - Recent Works
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller take the viewer on a personal journey with their famous audio walks, sound pieces and films filled with memories and reflections. These aural hallucinations are scripted, recorded and engineered by the Canadian artists. Their sound works reference musical, literary and cinematic genres - encompassing medieval plainsong, pulp fiction and film noir - to transform a walk down the road into an existential thriller.
In the Whitechapel’s Lower Gallery Forty Part Motet (2001) transforms the 16th century music of Thomas Tallis into a virtual architecture of pure sound. Spem in Alium, a choral work written for forty voices, has a soaring composition structured in overlapping layers. The forty individual speakers enable the listener to experience the voice of each performer and spatialises this complex musical structure. Unlike the concert hall, audiences may wander among groups of singers who are evoked as an absent presence, a ghost choir.
The Berlin Files (2003) features film sequences that echo the disjointed space and time of dreams. Images of a woman, a frozen landscape or a run-down night club appear, accompanied by a voiceover which hints at narratives of search, danger and loss, and a suspenseful soundtrack. Images are used to trigger emotions, while three-dimensional sound seeps beyond the film to merge its reality with our own.
The final work in the exhibition The Missing Voice (Case Study B) (1999) then takes the visitor on a guided walk out of the Whitechapel and through the streets of East London. It is one of a series of audio walks scripted by Cardiff in response to a particular location, which take the listener on a physical and psychological journey –combining new perspectives on everyday surroundings with disturbing flashbacks. Starting at the Whitechapel, The Missing Voice leads the listener into the Whitechapel Library, where they go to the crime section and page 88 of Reginald Hill’s Dreams of Darkness. The walk ends 40 minutes later at Liverpool Street Station, having immersed the listener in the 18th century streets and histories of East London, and in the memories and paranoia of a complete stranger.
Janet Cardiff and
George Bures Miller - Recent Works is part of an ongoing programme strand
at the Whitechapel assessing the work of an internationally renowned artists
mid-career. Previous shows have included Jeff Wall (1996), Thomas Schütte
(1998), Nan Goldin - Devil’s Playground, Rodney Graham (both 2002)
and Cristina Iglesias (2003).
• Janet Cardiff
was born in Brussels, Ontario, Canada in 1957. In collaboration with George
Bures Miller (born 1960), they have exhibited their work throughout Canada,
Europe and the USA. They live and work in Berlin.
opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm