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Works William of the


1960s and 1970s

William Eggleston Cheim & Read and Victoria Miro Frieze Masters 2012

Cheim & Read and Victoria Miro are pleased to present a group of largeformat photographs by William Eggleston at the upcoming Frieze Masters art fair in Regent’s Park, London, October 11–14. The images, dating from 1970–73, were only recently printed from their original transparencies, and are being exhibited here for the first time. Eggleston, always attuned to technological innovations in photography, applied the relatively new possibilities available with large-scale pigment printing to the 13 images, which were carefully selected from an archive of over 5,000 rarely-seen color images. In the early 70s, Eggleston shared a selection these transparencies with celebrated MoMA curator John Szarkowski; 75 were printed with the dye-transfer process for his seminal 1976 MoMA exhibition, and 48 were reproduced in the show’s accompanying catalogue: William Eggleston’s Guide. (A new compilation of the transparencies have been selected for a recent three-volume Steidl publication titled Chromes.) Though the dye-transfer process provided the highly-saturated color for which Eggleston is known, it was also sizelimiting, dictating the format of his work. Now, with the advancement of digital printing processes, he achieves the same lushly rendered color and detail, but presents it on an impressive, cinematic scale. Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, and continues to live and work in the American South. He is renowned for infusing seemingly banal subject matter with poetic sensibility. From his early career in the mid-60s, Eggleston was inspired by the often unplanned, haphazard compositions of amateur snapshots, thus accessing an intimate, narrative

voice that contradicted the prevailing standards of black-and-white “art” photography. The snapshot vernacular emulated the rapidly changing landscape of an increasingly alienated America; Eggleston conveys the loneliness and isolation of encroaching suburbia, finding in ordinary, everyday experience subjects of existential resonance. As he has said, “I’ve never staged a photograph in my life, and never needed to because there are pictures everywhere.” Eggleston’s innovative use of color, for which he is celebrated, reflects his appropriation of the snapshot, and the influence of films like Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” Importantly, it is also indicative of his interest in and practice of painting, which was his concentration while at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. His favorite artists of that time—Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock—, and Abstract Expressionism in general, are recognized as profound influences on his use of color, light and composition. His approach to picture-making is arguably more aligned with the history of painting than the history of photography. Eschewing the “documentary,” Eggleston carefully constructs his compositions; his distinctive use of color and the shapes of his subject are consciously organized within the frame. Eggleston’s attention to these formal concerns helped determine which transparencies would benefit from the larger scale. His new format extends the picture plane beyond one’s field of vision, immersing the viewer into his unique and evocative world.

Untitled (Ceiling Fixture, Sunburst Rays) 1970–73

Untitled (Tree Trunk at Night, Backlit) 1970–73

Untitled (Bare Feet on Dirt Road) 1970–73

Untitled (Parking Lot Day, Clouds) 1970–73

Untitled (Refrigerator Door) 1970–73

Untitled (Country Road, Horizon) 1970–73

Untitled (Cowboy Painting on Door) 1970–73

Untitled (Bicycle on Sidewalk) 1970–73

Untitled (Parking Lot Night, Light Streak) 1970–73

Untitled (Boy Asleep in Bed, Lamp) 1970–73

Frieze Masters October 11 – 14, 2012 Booth C10

Cover: detail of Untitled (Bare Feet on Dirt Road) 1970–73 All images © Eggleston Artistic Trust

William Eggleston  
William Eggleston  

Frieze Masters Catalogue