January 25, 2004

Brilliant interplay between photography and painting by Eric Fischl. It's not enough to take a photograph. You have to elaborately stage the photograph. It's not enough to Photoshop the photograph. You then make a painting of the Photoshopped photograph. And then you publish a book with images of both the photographs and the paintings so people can become absorbed in discovering the differences between the two. The NYT writes:
These paintings depict scenes that the artist orchestrated in the museum, formerly a residence, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1928. Mr. Fischl brought in modernist furniture, hired two actors and photographed them over four days in 2002 as they staged unscripted domestic scenarios throughout the house. With more than 2,000 pictures, he moved the figures from one image to another in Photoshop, reimagining the domestic tableaus in a set of final constructed photographs from which he made this series of paintings. The paintings were exhibited last fall in the rooms in which the fictional scenes took place, and the photographs were shown at the Mary Boone gallery in New York last month. The catalog is just now being distributed in this country by D.A.P.
Look at the enlargements of the two images here. At first, they appear identical. Why bother to paint when you can photograph? If you want painterly effects, you can Photoshop. Fischl shows why there is still reason to paint photographable images. You don't need to move very far from what is photographic: in the small moves away from photographic accuracy, we find the value of the hand on the paintbrush.

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