Cheim and Read is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Adam Fuss, the artist's first solo New York show since 1999 and his second at the gallery.
The exhibit will feature large pigment prints-solemn, darkly luminous human-sized blow-ups of butterfly chrysalides that recall sarcophagi. The theme of metamorphosis deepens with a series of 105 chronologically arranged ovular gravestone cameos, on each an idyllic childhood photo of the artist, taken from birth through age 11, in the bucolic settings of his English boyhood. The intermeshing of death and life, the always-haunted awareness most deeply compelling us, is further conjured by a series of mirrored daguerreotypes of human skulls, in which the viewer encounters death's head staring out of one's own face. These works speak to Fuss' fascination with, as he puts it, "the dual role of photos as image and mirror," as well as to the ambivalence surrounding the work of art itself in our culture. Shadowy pictures of outstretched arms and hands of children, as well as life-size metallic silver-toned photograms of a male figure with an erection, are also included in the exhibit, and evoke the aching curiosity and dizzying sensuousness of youth. The crucial if unspoken subject of this work seems to be the evolution of what is best still called the human soul, that watcher who experiences our singular lives, from whom alone any sense of meaning emanates, and who we perceive as our truest self.
Fuss, 42, is a vital example of the artist as alchemist, a mystic in thrall to physical reality. He is not a conventional photographer, but an experimental and highly original artist, known for pushing the medium and methods of photography to original, austere, fiercely
beautiful ends. That he's compared in passing to figures as different as Jackson Pollock and Joel-Peter Witkin attests to the quality, range and impact of his innovations. Fuss' images reflect a keen knowledge, one bordering on awe, of the science of photography. In this exhibition he lays out a sort of initiatory chamber in which our mortality and humanity are experienced as one, in lyric and personal terms.