Abelardo Morell's photographs transform and transcend the ordinary and everyday. Edwynn Houk Gallery began exclusive representation of the artist in 2013, celebrating with a solo exhibition in Zürich. That same year, Morell's work was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition, “The Universe Next Door,” which started at the Art Institute of Chicago in June of 2013, toured to the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and ended at the High Museum in Atlanta in May of 2014. 


Intrigued with optics and how an image is constructed, Morell’s diverse subject mattrs and approaches are united by the artist’s constant experimentation with optics and exploring new ways of constructing images.  In one of his most enduring bodies of works, known as his camera obscura series, Morell reinvigorates the earliest discoveries in optics with a contemporary vision. His technique is straightforward yet wondrous: he transforms rooms into cameras by darkening the entire space except for one pinhole, which naturally creates an upside-down projection of the outside world onto that room’s back wall. Morell then photographs this combination of two worlds, outdoor and indoor, which often creates surreal, dream-like pastiches. Morell’s achievement in this approach earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993, and this part of his practice has continued to evolve — alongside numerous other series and explorations — since.


Morell has also developed his signature approach for outdoor spaces in what is known as his tent-camera technique. Using the camera-obscura phenomenon, the artist uses a portable tent to project arresting views onto the earth beneath his feet. The resulting works reflect highly intentional marriages of the landscape with the materiality of the ground. Morell’s experimental approach not only engages with the photography’s ancient history but also with modern painting. Inspired by the plein air practices of van Gogh and Monet, Morell made works in the same locations in France where those artists painted, not recreating their works but rather creating a new, radically modern vocabulary informed by art history.


Morell was born in Cuba and emigrated to the United States in his childhood. Morell was the subject of a documentary film, Shadow of the House, in 2007. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago;  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fondation Cartier, Paris; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Since beginning representation of the artist, Edwynn Houk Gallery has presented five solo exhibitions of the artist's work, from recent camera obscura images to series such as Flowers for Lisa.

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