Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Barry Frydlender, Travelogue in Pictures @Meislin

JTF (just the facts): A total of 7 large scale color images, framed in blond wood and not matted, and hung in the main gallery space (with a dividing wall) and the back alcove. All of the works are chromogenic color prints, ranging in size from 39x93 to 47x112. The works were made between 2010 and 2011, and have been printed in editions of 5. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: With the proliferation of powerful digital tools, it seems like the composite panorama has become a photographic subgenre all its own. Starting with fragments from hundreds of individual images, a photographer then stitches these pieces into a single large tableaux, often with multiple stories occurring simultaneously. The result is a hyper-real instant, where detail is crisp from edge to edge, and where the documentary reality is subtly transformed into an interpretive scene.

Barry Frydlender has been assembling large scale photographic scenes for many years now, so his craft has reached a point where the illusion is pretty well seamless: time seems to stand still while multiple stories play out in different portions of the composition. From Paris to Tel Aviv and from London to Los Angeles, broad panoramas capture inadvertent juxtapositions and relationships of people, all intertwined in the clustered bustle of the city. And while the viewer can stand and unpack the separate narratives all in one place, I think we've now reached a place where this kind of master digital construction isn't enough anymore in and of itself.

What I found most interesting (and in some cases perplexing) in many of Frydlender's images is that he has quietly inserted a sense of upending time warp, where individual subjects can often be seen more than once in the large span of the image. This doppelganger effect is easy to miss if you don't look closely, but once you see it, it transforms the scenes from quasi-documentary stills into something altogether more original and radical. Time has been collapsed, and the single image now represents a more cinematic place, where individuals seem to traverse the surface of the image as they jump from one instance of themselves to the next. This technique unfreezes the fabricated moment and instead creates fluid motion, where past and present are interlinked.

For me, this idea of time-based seriality inside the framework of a single static image is quite exciting, as it updates the concept of the multiple exposure for the digital age; it also changes the nature of the traditional photographic narrative. This seems like fertile ground for unexpected ways of thinking, and I hope Frydlender will take this straightforward thought and expand it in new and challenging directions.

Collector's POV: All of the images in the show are priced at $75000 each, regardless of variations in size. Frydlender's work has very little secondary market history, with just a few lots coming up for sale in the past few years; prices have ranged between roughly $50000 and $70000. Given such sparse auction activity, gallery retail is likey the best option for interested collectors at this point.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • Review: Wall Street Journal (here)
  • Exhibit: MoMA, 2007 (here)
Barry Frydlender, Travelogue in Pictures
Through June 18th

Andrea Meislin Gallery
526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001


Anonymous said...

"There's nothing new under the sun"... I found this show boring, these composite panoramas which Frydlender is doing for 10 years now were exciting and fresh until several years ago, but not any more (seamless or not..).
Duplicated individuals, WOW... how deep.(?). Well not so.

Anonymous said...

:" DEEP EGO & Good marketing of copy/edit works of other talented person" experts recognize........Ask Fridlender to provide Fotoshop license -- not sure he will show up . :-) hear that this Artist 10 years work on stollen pirate fotoshop - WOW