Camera Obscura: View of the Manhattan Bridge, April 30th, Evening, 2010
Tent-Camera Image on Ground: View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Yates, 2012
Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North, Spring, 2010
Tent-Camera Image on Ground: View of Sea Stacks Looking North, Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington, 2012
Galerie Edwynn Houk is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photographs by Abelardo Morell (American, b. Havana, 1948). This will be his first exhibition at the gallery, and his first in Switzerland. Morell is the subject of a major retrospective touring exhibition in the United States, The Universe next Door, travelling to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, the High Museum in Atlanta over the next year.
Morell has long been intrigued with optics and how an image is constructed. In 1991, he wanted to illustrate to his students the basic tenet of photography – light passing through an aperture and its projected image – and in so doing, stumbled upon what proved to be a turning point; Morell realized with Lightbulb, that any room, any space can be turned into a camera. Renowned for his camera obscura works, Morell has over the years perfected the technique and continues to use what is fundamentally one of the oldest, most primitive ways to make an image. His seminal Lightbulb as well as examples of his most striking camera obscura works, from Venice, New York and London, will be on view.
Capturing the passage of time in photographs has been a challenging and careerlong pursuit Morell's. In the beginning, his camera obscura photographs required exposures of several hours, but now with digital technology, it is much faster. He is able to show specific times of day in single images, moments can be pinpointed instead of hours passing, as seen in Manhattan Bridge, Evening (2010). Morell deftly balances a philosophical approach with a scientific rigor, and honoring a Modernist tradition, he continues to experiment. Recently, he has adapted a tent so that he can take his camera obscura works outdoors. The effects of these images hark back to Impressionist painting where famous vistas are juxtaposed with unexpected, nontraditional surfaces, a marriage of two outdoor realities, as seen in View of Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Yates (2012).
Morell lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. He holds an MFA from Yale University, and an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College. In 1993, he was the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Until 2009, he was a professor of photography at Massachusetts College of Art. There are numerous publications and monographs on his work, including most recently a retrospective book to accompany The Universe next Door. He was the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award in 2011. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fondation Cartier, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.