It makes perfect sense that an artist who lives a big life would decide to use a big camera. Julian Schnabel, known best for his paintings and film making, is now producing images with a handmade Polaroid camera. Produced in the 1970’s, there are only six of these cameras in existence. This camera works like photosynthesis. It is as if you were Xeroxing your own face. The pictures have such physicality: their surface is like fine leather, stained from chemicals. Each one has a body and is more than an image.
The Polaroids will be on exhibition at the Colnaghi Gallery in London through November 12th.
Curated by Petra Giloy-Hirtz, the exhibition will present a selection of photographs, mostly previously unpublished, which offer an insight into the enigmatic character of the artist and a glimpse into his working environment. Works on view include images of Schnabel’s family and friends, such as Lou Reed, Placido Domingo and Mickey Rourke, alongside Polaroids of the artist’s private spaces within the Palazzo Chupi on New York’s Lower West Side and the interiors and surroundings of his studios in Brooklyn, Montauk and Manhattan. Schnabel took these extraordinary large-format Polaroids, both in brilliant colour and black-and-white, using a dolly-mounted 20 x 24 in. 1970s camera, and in some cases the artist has painted on the surfaces of the photographs. Together these Polaroids create a unique tableau, both intensely personal and poetic.
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