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Miranda Lichtenstein at The Gallery at Hermès

Polaroids

‘Instilling a sense of wonder in the viewer, in an age when very little surprises’: this, in her own words, is the ambition of the American guest artist for Spring 2014 at The Gallery at Hermès. This exhibition presents 46 works produced between 2002 and 2013 offering a glimpse into her creative process.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Miranda Lichtenstein at The Gallery at Hermès
© Courtesy of the artist

Sometimes, a simple gift can make a creative impact. So it was with a 4x5 Lindhof camera with a Polaroid back, given to Miranda Lichtenstein before she left for a summer residency at Monet’s garden in Giverny (France). Photographing flowers cut by the gardeners just as they began to wilt, she incorporated them into elaborate compositions featuring misaligned shadows, painted by hand. In the 12 years since, Polaroids have remained part of her artistic practice.

As with her work at Giverny, the artist takes inspiration from her travels and extended stays overseas. In Japan, she used Washi papers as backgrounds and screens; in Italy, she looked to classic still life subject matter (fruits, vases, flowers), but played with distorting reflective surfaces. The most recent images – produced in her Brooklyn studio – were created specially for this exhibition.   

Exhibition curator Cory Jacobs explains, ‘Lichtenstein has turned objects into images, but given their singularity, these works are also objects unto themselves. They are small, tactile and imperfect.’ The viewer is invited to look at over a decade of imagery, savouring (as the artist intended) her sense of wonder and surprise.  

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