Watching intently

Philip-Lorca diCorcia, The Hamptons, 2008

Philip-Lorcia diCorcia, The Hamptons, 2008

Philip-Lorca diCorcia is one of those people whose work I may not always like – although I often – but will always make the time to go and see. If I’m honest though, the press release for East of Eden, which I saw at David Zwirner in Mayfair in the summer, didn’t really excite me. DiCorcia was quoted as saying that the series, started in 2008 as the sub-prime mortgage crisis caused the economy to fail, was “provoked by the collapse of everything, which seems to me a loss of innocence. People thought they could have anything. And then it just blew up in their faces. I’m using the Book of Genesis as a start.”

Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Iolanda, 2011

Iolanda, 2011

The images are much less of a collection than other series of diCorcia’s that I’ve seen (such as Heads or The Hustlers), a mixture of interior and exterior locations, both populated and empty, photographed from near and far. But there is a rhythm to the series and there are some intriguing pictures in particular of people seemingly waiting – and often watching – for something. In a sense, perhaps, this is the end of a world, the end of certainty – or complacency – and the arrival of anxiety. Many of the trappings of the good times are in tact, but for the woman sitting staring out of the window at the skyline across the water, is this all just a house of cards? Is the city in the distance the Eden from which she has been banished?

Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Mr Briggs, 2007-8

Mr Briggs, 2007-8

As a series, I’m still not sure quite what to make of East of Eden, but the picture of two dogs watching porn in a minimalist white apartment has stayed that with me (possibly that bit clearer than I might have chosen) and will always make me laugh (or cry, I think that’s very possible too).

2 thoughts on “Watching intently

    • It is, isn’t it? I like the way it fills in a lot of detail. I also really like the way the colour palette of the view beyond the window is so similar to the scene on the television.

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