Gregory Crewdson

Date/place of birth

September 26, 1962, Brooklyn, New York, United States

Gregory Crewdson - PRODUCTION STILL A
Gregory Crewdson - PRODUCTION STILL A

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Gregory Crewdson biography

From punk rocker to film director without a film: The American photographer Gregory Crewdson stages his elaborate picture worlds as depressing, melancholic nightmares of the everyday in which his models sink into mute lethargy without thought of resistance. 

Gregory Crewdson – Man as a world full of secrets

Gregory Crewdson was born on 26 September 1962 in the New York district of Brooklyn. His father, a psychoanalyst, ran his practice in his own house – direct under his son’s bedroom, who lay on the floor and intently listened to the patient interviews from above. It was in this unreal and secretive atmosphere that the first pictures and dreamworlds evolved in the youngster’s head and which would later reflect greatly in his art. This period sharpened Gregory Crewdson’s awareness that, as the artist himself liked to say, every person holds a world full of secrets. Active in the punk rock group The Speedies as a teenager, he wanted to get to the bottom of these secrets with his art. In 1979, the group intoned the song Let Me Take Your Foto, which was an important impulse for Crewdson to start photography.

Between dream and reality

With his pictures, Gregory Crewdson shows seemingly everyday things that normally never transpire that way and that are surrounded by a dreamy breeze. His compositions are monstrously elaborate scenes which often take the artist several months. For this reason, Crewdon’s picture series usually consist of only a few parts, which, however, have an all the more intense and vivid effect on the viewer. The similarity of the photo compositions to big Hollywood films can hardly be denied and are intentional on the part of their creator. Crewdson himself names the black art of the thriller king Alfred Hitchcock a crucial source of inspiration, but parallels to Steven Spielberg’s science fiction adventure Close Encounters of the Third Kind are also recognisable. Crewdson often selects claustrophobic American suburbs staged as fractured idyls interwoven with invisibly tension, in a deliberate reference to David Lynch’s surreal drama Blue Velvet.

There is no escape; light without origin

When a fire burns in Gregory Crewdson’s pictures, it is immediately clear to the viewer that nobody will be coming to put it out. Road signs don’t point the way, traffic lights remain on undecisive amber, cars sink into the snow, and sometimes, Gregory Crewdson’s worlds lack all colour. Immensely important to Crewdson’s work is a sophisticated light choreography that illuminates his pictures but never enlightens them. The carefully arranged beams of light show a great deal, but they reveal nothing – and it is often totally unclear where it even comes from, the floating glow that immerses everything in an unspoken mystery which its creator has no interest in solving. Crewdson photographs his models as the key without a lock, as sealed windows and doors which he penetrates with his camera without actually opening them. 

Atmosphere as statement; instinct as key

Crewdson values the fact that he does not associate his work with any particular statement. He wants to reach the viewer with the atmosphere alone. His painstaking compositions command a nebulous mixture of patience and instinct to be able to grasp all the hidden details and their complicated connections. They are worth the time and effort though, for the works of the idiosyncratic American photographer reward with the unexpected return of the long forgotten and presumed lost.

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Gregory Crewdson Prices

Gregory CrewdsonPRODUCTION STILL A€2.640
Gregory CrewdsonPRODUCTION STILL B€2.400
Gregory CrewdsonProduction Still Forest Gathering #1 (from the series: "Beneath the Roses")€2.232
Gregory CrewdsonProduction Still (Forest Gathering #4) 'Beneath the Roses'€2.074
Gregory CrewdsonPRODUCTION STILL - BRIGHTVIEW # 3€1.920

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