Sunday, July 24, 2016

William Eggleston - at National Portrait Gallery London

 William Eggleston: c.1970 (Devoe Money in Jackson, Mississippi)

Running until October 31 at London's National Portrait Gallery, and getting rave reviews, is an overview of William Eggelston's portrait oeuvre.

The NPG say this: William Eggleston is a pioneering American photographer renowned for his vivid, poetic and mysterious images. This exhibition of 100 works surveys Eggleston’s full career from the 1960s to the present day and is the most comprehensive display of his portrait photography ever.
Eggleston is celebrated for his experimental use of colour and his solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976 is considered a pivotal moment in the recognition of colour photography as a contemporary art form. Highlights of the exhibition will include monumental prints of two legendary photographs first seen forty years ago: the artist’s uncle Adyn Schuyler Senior with his assistant Jasper Staples in Cassidy Bayou, Mississippi, and Devoe Money in Jackson, Mississippi.
Also on display will be a selection of never-before seen vintage black and white prints from the 1960s. Featuring people in diners, petrol stations and markets in and around the artist’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, they help illustrate Eggleston’s unique view of the world. 
You can go to the National Portrait Gallery's site HERE.

And the guardian this: Even if it is just a tract of Tennessee land, or a ceiling, or some trash on the ground, everything is a portrait in William Eggleston’s work. A portrait less of a moment than of a place and an age. Eggleston never diminishes what he sees but somehow enlarges both the momentous and the trivial. Some unknown pensive guy swallowing a burger and staring at it with a kind of avarice, a curator in a phonebooth, a bloke on a bed, a woman alone at the side of a long and empty road, a girlfriend in tears – each photograph is freighted with untold stories. You feel their weight along with the heat of the day, the stale air-conditioned chill in the room, the smell of smoke and beer and sweat in the nightclub, the car-seat vinyl, the instant’s lassitude.
Eggleston’s photography has been derided for its ordinariness, for its compositional blankness, even for its use of colour. This now seems absurd. How could his critics not see what was there – the things unrevealed but somehow unaccountably present? Eggleston’s photography gets under your skin, just as he got under the skin of Memphis (where he was born in 1939), of Tallahatchie County, of the south and of social situations, capturing both the discomposure and awkward indifference of his subjects.
You can read the guardians full piece HERE.

William Eggleston: 1969-70, Cassidy Bayou, Sumner, Mississippi

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