Polka Galerie proudly presents “Inside | Outside”, an unprecedented journey into American photographer, Joel Meyerowitz’s remarkable universe. For the first time, the artist revisits his entire body of work, eliminating the stringent frameworks and constraints of isolated series or individual iconic images. Here he rediscovers his earliest days in the teeming streets of New York alongside much later, contemplative and introspective works owing from Tuscany to Cézanne’s and Morandi’s studios.
The photographic image thus no longer exists on its own, but rather in a new, symbiotic frame of reference. Visual harmonies and chromatic complements interfuse, their shadows and echoes forming a new reading of the overall group of works. Herein a different kind of conversation among them is born, resonating through experimental sequences, colors and juxtapositions.
“Photographers of my generation are sometimes too closed off in their own box, unable to step out. Thankfully an outsider’s eye can sometimes intervene to break down those walls and to liberate the images we no longer give a second thought to, bringing new associations. Like that woman looking through the window, I have always adored her without ever showing it... She seems to look over at the fruits placed on a newspaper, reflecting and sheer in the light. It is photographs such as this one that reclaim their power as an individual image once they are removed from the series they belong to.”
The exhibition “Inside | Outside” revisits six decades of photography with complete structural freedom and a friendly hand from the artist, who entrusts the viewers with the keys to his archives. The visitors’ paths through this exhibition are countless, as it sums up a life spent observing people and landscapes, now presented from a new perspective: simultaneously as an homage and as a critical analysis of the photographer’s body of work over time.
The goal of this analysis is to break down the invisible line, the reflective mirror’s edge between two parallel, surreal worlds. It brings into view an apartment interior emerging from the depths of a forest, a beach laid out on the rim of an empty bathtub, or the buzzing life of a street reflected in glasses abandoned atop an empty table. Another section of the exhibition is made up of diptychs; stereoscopic image pairs that associate unrelated scenarios through plays on scale, color, geometry or small visual details. Sometimes their connection simply constitutes a subtle thread in the images’ narratives, brought up to the surface through their association.
We see the curve of a New York bridge lining up with an Italian country path. The foggy glare of two lights shining through an immense city. An open door that leads the viewer’s eye out to the horizon, or one that ends in an empty museum wall and abstract landscapes. The crisp black and white of a moment captured on lm or the smudged color of silhouettes just a second after the shutter clicks... Two years before his major 2020 retrospective coming up at the Tate Modern, “Inside | Outside” provides a unique preview into the world of Joel Meyerowitz’s unseen photographic harmonies.