This was a remarkable exhibition, Elinor Carucci is hardly the first photographer to turn the camera on herself and the circumstances of her life. But in her best work she is able to communicate moments of psychological intensity so uncomfortable that is difficult to fathom how she can portray herself with such detachment.
Carucci's world is one of emotional light and dark, and the snapshotlike images in which she is smiling or laughing (often in the company of her mother) throw into sharper relief the pictures where she appears distraught. Her distress is often physical, as in the photographs from the series "Pain" (2002-3), which were made while the artist (also a professional dancer) was being treated for severe back pain. But the pictures also described emotional turmoil. The series "Crisis" (2002-3) was produced while her marriage was foundering.
A couple of these pictures were exceptionally eloquent. After Argument (2003) shows a relationship split down the middle. On the left, Carucci's husband sits, brooding. To the right, the artist suns herself on the balcony, seeming a world away, but the two are separated by only a sheer curtain and a pane of glass.
The emotional intensity of Carucci's pictures is sustained by their technical clarity. These were strikingly beautiful images. In Guilt (2002), the passage from dark blues to flesh tones to the deepening pinks of underwear and freshly painted toenails is exquisite.
The photographs also demonstrated how the artist was able to control focus (or a lack of it) to heighten her subjects' tangibility. In Eran and I (2001) for example, one of Carucci's nipples is in the sharpest focus, while the other one is blurry, and the artist's face is somewhere in between. As a consequence, she seems very close to us and, most important, utterly real. -Robert Ayers
Elinor Carucci, like other great portrait photographers Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann, and Nicholas Nixon, has asked her family to participate in an intimate familial introspection. In this exhibition Carucci presents various scenes from a period of marital rift with her husband (Crisis) and from her year long journey with severe back pain (Pain) alongside a selection of images from her earliest body of work (Closer, 1993-2001). The images in this exhibition exude an overall diaristic quality: gripping, voyeuristic and cinematic. Privacies are held up to the light of introspection rather than confrontation.
In addition to her work in photography, Carucci is a professional belly dancer and she often turns the lens on herself by employing a self-timer. Her images are performative in nature, a combination of candid snapshots and on-the-spot staging. The photographs are full of observations on body and gesture and often contain nakedness both physical and emotional. Exuding tenderness and warmth, the photographs explore Carucci’s relationship with those closest to her. Her curious and penetrating gaze is often startling in its sincerity.
Elinor Carucci is an Israeli-born photographer who lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from Bezalel Academy in 1995 but began experimenting with photography when she was 15 years old. Her first photographs were black and white snap shots of her mother, a pivotal subject she continues to revisit and explore in great depth.
Carucci has been exhibited widely, with solo shows at several international venues including: the Hafia Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel; The Photographers’ Gallery, London and Fotographie Forum, Frankfurt. Her photographs are included in public collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum of Arts, International Center of Photography, The Jewish Museum and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Carucci is a recipient of numerous awards including the ICP Infinity Award (2001), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2002). Publications include, Closer, Chronicle Books 2002 and Diary of a Dancer, SteidlMack (2005).