City Stages offers a paean to the craft and visionary potential of large-format, black-and-white photography, as well as to the vibrancy of the cultural landscape at a transitional moment—a moment in which our very relationship to that landscape is increasingly mediated by omnipresent screens.
Over the past decade, photographer Matthew Pillsbury has built several extensive bodies of work that deal with different facets of contemporary metropolitan life and the passage of time. Working with black-and-white 8-by-10 film and long exposures, Pillsbury captures a range of psychologically charged experiences in the urban environment, from isolation—as we’re tuned into the omnipresent screens of our tablets, laptops, televisions, and phones—to crowded museums, parades, cathedrals, and even protests.
Working primarily in New York but with forays to Paris, London, Venice, and other sites, the precise and concrete rendering of cityscapes, iconic landmarks, and interior spaces in his images provides a stage-like setting for the performance of human activity. Thanks to the extended exposures, including some as long as an hour, the actions of both individuals and crowds are blurred and transformed into pure gesture and energy. As writer Karl E. Johnson comments on the work, “For Pillsbury, the act of seeing appears to double as a performance, if no more than the performance of life enacted in various spaces and timeframes.” This exhibition gathers for the first time selections from Pillsbury’s City Stages, Screen Lives, and Time Frame series, spanning ten years of the artist’s output.
This exhibition is coproduced by Aperture Foundation and Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York.
The exhibition consists of fifteen 20 x 25–inch photographs and eighteen 43.5 x 54.5–inch photographs. It requires approximately 185 feet of running wall space.
Photographs by Matthew Pillsbury
12½ x 10½ in. (30.5 x 24.7 cm)
128 pages, 75 duotone images
Clothbound with tipon
$7,500 for an 8-week showing. The host venue is responsible for pro-rated shipping and insurance.
The exhibition is available through 2016.