Patrick Faigenbaum: People & Places

April 16 - June 11, 2010

Artist Page

Press Release

Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Patrick Faigenbaum: People and Places, featuring photographs from the 1980s to the present. The exhibition will be the artist's first New York solo show since 1999 and will run from April 16 to June 11, 2010.

Patrick Faigenbaum first received critical notice in the mid-1980s for his portraits of Italian aristocratic families. In black and white prints rendered in a smoky chiaroscuro, he shot his subjects posing stiffly in their palatial residences. Isolated against the backdrop of luxuriously appointed interiors, Faigenbaum's sitters silently articulated the tensions found in contemporary lives bound to an inheritance from a bygone era. The artist has since broadened his purview from straight portraiture to documentary projects that capture the lives and histories of a growing list of towns and neighborhoods. Inspired by pioneers of the medium, such as Paul Strand, Bill Brandt, and W. Eugene Smith, Faigenbaum has turned to a wider range of genres, all while maintaining the portraitist's attention to the specificity of individual identities. His scenes of everyday life are rooted in the details of lived experience, while his still-lifes meticulously transcribe the colors and textures of local seasonal offerings. Portraits continue to be a staple of his practice, and these he imbues with the haunting pathos that can result from the fleeting intimacy between artist and sitter. Faigenbaum's early training as a painter has influenced this engagement with traditional genres, and it can also account for the undeniably painterly quality of his prints. Their vivid colors, enchanted lighting, and inviting tactility speak to his serious study of the medium and its history.

Patrick Faigenbaum was born in Paris in 1954, where he continues to live and teach. He has participated in numerous important group exhibitions, including Documenta X, Kassel, Germany in 1997. In 2005, he had a solo exhibition at the Louvre, Paris, and in 2008, the Musée de Grenoble mounted his mid-career retrospective. A sampling of work from his recent Kibbutz project was displayed at the Kunstmuseum, Bochum, Germany in 2008. Faigenbaum's photographs can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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