Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Elinor Carucci’s latest body of work, "Midlife."
In this new series spanning the past eight years, Carucci continues to explore themes of identity, relationships, and the passage of time by documenting herself and her family in their daily lives, a practice that has long been central to her work. Through these deeply personal photographs—which range from moments of intimacy and emotionally charged scenes, to the most mundane tasks of running a household—the artist’s vulnerability and total honesty to her audience invite viewers to recognize their own experiences in hers.
Carucci’s images have always been distinguished by an ability to illustrate the universality of human emotions by zeroing in on carefully composed scenes of domesticity. Yet, "Midlife" is particularly compelling because it chooses as its subject matter a period in life that is rarely acknowledged, much less celebrated. Youthful beauty and the advent of motherhood are familiar motifs in the history of art but the narrative of women’s lives seems to stop there. More than simply shining a light on the midlife years, Carucci presents an intensive and tender investigation into the effects of time on her body, her self-identity in all its complexity, and her relationships with her family members as they each move through new phases of their lives.
We see the artist at a crossroads between the three generations of her family, as well as in her own identity, as she uses the process of photographing to understand and reconcile changes, most notably the loss of her fertility. In a shift from her previous body of work which captured the all encompassing frenzy of having young children, Carucci expands her focus, observing the rich partnership that has evolved in her decades long relationship with her husband, and returning her gaze to her parents—now from the perspective of being a parent herself. She zooms into the details of aging, displaying wrinkles and grey hairs with equal parts seriousness and theatricality.
In her afterword to the "Midlife" monograph (Monacelli, 2019), Carucci writes:
“Middle Age. Midlife Crisis. Midlife.
It is in my midlife years that I can laugh at the jokes I make with my friends about the comic aspects of our aging bodies, and welcome the wisdom which indeed, as the cliché says, comes with age. The appreciation of these times in our lives somehow allows for me to make ‘more’ out of seemingly ‘less’-less time remaining, less striving to prove myself, even fewer internal organs! Last year of elementary school for the kids, last year of middle school, the final years with our parents. I know I must love, touch, and laugh. Every year that goes by I joke more; I try to laugh more, I have to. I feel more and hurt more and fear more. I love more.
And I am only midway through.”