Photography Highlights from Paris Photo 2022, Part 2 of 4

This is Part 2 of our summary report on the highlights of Paris Photo 2022. Part 1 of the report (here) explains the format used in the detailed slideshow below, provides some background for the discussion, and covers earlier sections of the fair. So while it is certainly possible to jump directly into any one of these individual reports, if you want or need a bit more context, return to Part 1 as a starting point.

L. Parker Stephenson Photographs (here): This dripping crescent moon by Kikuji Kawada was made during a partial eclipse in Tokyo in 1987 and the image was included in his photobook The Last Cosmology. There is something melancholy and end of world about the dissolving light, the bright glow burning away as we watch. Priced at €12600.

Gallery Fifty One (here): A new cache of images by Saul Leiter has been uncovered, resulting in a new photobook, The Unseen Saul Leiter, and a new round of prints from the estate. Leiter’s work in New York is consistently filled with subtle color studies, shop window reflections, and lilting moments of repose amid the bustle, and these “new” pictures continue in that vein. This image creates a layered color effect, stacking the cars and signage into striped horizontals. Priced at $5250.

Nicholas Metivier Gallery (here): Edward Burtynsky spent time on a project in Africa between 2015 and 2019, and this image of salt ponds in Senegal comes from that effort. Even though he’s shown us the rich colors of salt ponds in other images before, these small round pools are unexpected, creating a densely spotted pattern across the land. From afar, the colors look like scales, or Pointillist dots. Priced at €20000 in the smallest size.

In Camera Galerie (here): This quietly introspective reading moment comes from a series of images Evgenia Arbugaeva made in the Arctic in 2019-2020. The chill in the air is palpable (that flimsy heater can’t be doing much), but the bright Wyeth-like light in the sparsely muted room somehow feels timeless and calming. Priced at €4050.

Vintage Galéria (here): This night scene comes from a group of pictures the Hungarian photographer György Lőrinczy made in the late 1960s and later took shape at the now classic photobook New York, New York in 1972. What caught my eye is the shape of the headlights – we’re used to seeing long exposure images that elongate headlights, or pictures that smear headlights out into washes of color, but this photograph somehow keeps them all as bright rounds, like sparkling lights on a Christmas tree. Those spots feel graphic and vibrant, making the choked traffic feel stylish and magical. Priced at €4500.

Vintage Galéria (here): This unusual 1920s print by André Kertész captures the twisting abstraction of an unnamed sculpture. It feels machined and modern, like a chemistry diagram or the branches of a metallic tree. Priced at €6000.

Pace Gallery (here): This set of cherry blossom images is part of a new series by Paul Graham called “Verdigris”. Up close, the blossoms dissolve into digital noise, the wind through the branches creating movement that the high resolution image sensor couldn’t resolve. The results feel painterly and approximate, matching the impermanence of springtime. Priced at $20000 each.

Pace Gallery (here): This recent cyanotype by Kiki Smith was made by using a needle to scratch a sheet of clear Plexi, which was then used to make the exposure. The artistic impulse was to mimic the patterns of hurricanes, but the delicate markings might just as well be a murmuration of starlings, the skin of a short-haired dog, or the cosmic swirl in the skies above. Priced at $15000.

Pace Gallery (here): These two painterly 1954 prints by Irving Penn were made using the gum bichromate process and printed on porcelain coated steel. Each print used a different combination of pigments, creating the appearance of seasonal spring and fall colors. The soft dappling is altogether Pictorial, and therefore unexpected for the usually crisply precise Penn. Priced at $50000 each.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): While George Platt Lynes may be better known for his 1940s era male nudes and fashion images, this postcard which he made to send to friends has a jaunty surreal quality. The watching eyes, the vertically flowing hair, and the other small faces in the corner come together in a composition that seems ready to communicate secrets. Priced at €6500.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): The calla lily is one of the heavy hitters of floral photography subjects, with countless photographers having interpreted its stylized form. But Edward Steichen goes against the grain with his 1921 image of the calla, looking straight into its center, essentially flattening it out rather than highlighting its sleek profile. Between the mottled black and white leaves as a backdrop and the delicate tunneled in perspective, Steichen’s portrait is a compositional outlier, in all the best ways. For the record, Georgia O’Keeffe didn’t make a looking in view of a calla until 1926, so he meaningfully preceded her. Priced at €90000.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): I have often wondered what Sarah Moon’s photographic career might have looked like if she hadn’t turned her attention to fashion so fully. This 2020 image gives as a tantalizing taste of the Moon aesthetic applied to subjects other than dresses and models, in this case, a broken glass bottle or vase (apparently, as identifying what is going on in this picture isn’t easy.) The shadows and see-throughs make for a disorienting setup, and the tactile surfaces give the print a sense of timeless mystery. Priced at €15000.

Edwynn Houk Gallery (here): Gallery owner Edwynn Houk told me he’d been chasing this Imogen Cunningham print for more than thirty years, and finally caught it after all this time just before the fair. Apparently, the print originally belonged to Lee Witkin, and Houk was prepared to acquire it, only Witkin died before the transaction actually took place and the print vanished into the family. It finally surfaced again years later with a niece, and is now on the walls of the Houk booth. The print itself is a marvel, a lovely small Modernist nude on warm toned paper (the kind Cunningham usually reserved for her floral studies); the fact that it is a male nude from the 1920s makes Cunningham’s firecracker personality all the more apparent – not many female photographers were making male nudes at that artistic moment. The skin tones are burnished to a muted shine, and from afar, one could easily mistake the twisted form for the inside of a shell or a closed fist. Priced at $28000.

Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (here): Noémie Goudal’s interventions with mirrors and rephotographed imagery have often made her landscapes seem disorienting, but in this work, she’s introduced a brilliantly simple twist that completely alters our perception of what is taking place. Using corrugated cardboard cutouts painted grey, she’s arranged them in such a way that from the vantage point of her camera, the snowy mountain scene in the distance seems to have been roughly quarried into a square with smooth sides, revealing the bare rock underneath. She doesn’t hide her handiwork exactly, but the deception is powerful enough to require a double take second look. Priced at €19000.

Persons Projects (here): This recent abstraction by Niko Luoma makes it difficult to determine which lines were placed down first. The rectangular squares of thin light (painstakingly laid down one by one) seem to oscillate in and out, never quite stopping at a point of equilibrium. Is the optical effect tunneling inward or outward? It’s hard to say; the visual echoes reverberate on and on. Priced at €14500.

Kuckei + Kuckei (here): This 2022 work by Barbara Probst continues her thoughtful exploration of simultaneity and alternate perspectives. The same rooftop moment is seen from three separate vantage points and distances, extending that single instant into three versions of the same reality. As seen here, her work remains conceptually sophisticated and visually distinctive. Priced at €26200.

Alberto Damian (here): The Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia is best known for her images of life in Palermo under the influence of the Sicilian mafia. This booth was a solo presentation of her work, and I briefly chatted with her two adult grandchildren who were in attendance and answering questions. This striking image captures the insidious reach of the mafia as a literal shadow, the young girl posing in the brightness while the older man lingers in the dark nearby, firmly present but just out of reach. Priced at €16200.

La Galerie Rouge (here): This late 1970s image by the Panamanian photographer Sandra Eleta comes from a series on the lives of servants. This uniformed woman sits in a gilded chair with haughty grandeur, her feather duster held like a regal sceptre and the playacted reversal of roles enacted with biting intensity. Priced at €7000.

Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain (here): These sculptural forms were made by the Mexican photographer Alejandra Laviada by isolating the piled boxes and furniture tied up on the backs of trucks passing through the city. Straps and bungee cords precariously hold things together, with crates, chairs, and other wooden objects held together in tight arrangements. The works have the feeling of found Louise Nevelson sculptures, albeit unpainted. Priced at €4000 each or €37000 for the set of 12 prints.

Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain (here): The Brazilian photographer Caio Reisewitz has been visualizing the destruction of the rainforest for many years now. This new work intermingles images from a protected botanical garden with those from exploited indigenous zones, digitally collaging in a small extraction hut and snippets of jungle being deforested by fire. The effects are subtle, but the transformation of the natural world taking place is no less dire. Priced at €18000.

Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière (here): The momentum behind the rediscovery of the work of the Ghanaian photographer James Barnor continues to accelerate. This vintage studio work from his mid 1960s time in London captures the understated glamour of his setups, with the apparatus of picture making adding a frame of authenticity. Priced at €22000.

Part 3 of this report can be found here.

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Read more about: Alejandra Laviada, André Kertész, Barbara Probst, Caio Reisewitz, Edward Burtynsky, Edward Steichen, Evgenia Arbugaeva, George Platt Lynes, György Lőrinczy, Imogen Cunningham, Irving Penn, James Barnor, Kiki Smith, Kikuji Kawada, Letizia Battaglia, Niko Luoma, Noémie Goudal, Paul Graham, Sandra Eleta, Sarah Moon, Saul Leiter, Alberto Damian, Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain, Edwynn Houk Gallery, Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Gallery Fifty One, Howard Greenberg Gallery, In Camera Galerie, Kuckei + Kuckei, L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, La Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, La Galerie Rouge, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Pace Gallery, Persons Projects, Vintage Galéria, Paris Photo

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