“I never intended to show the pictures I took. The Polaroids are documents of places I built, sculptures I made, people I know, the process of painting. I used the camera as a medium. Because of the camera I had the experience. Anomalies, idiosyncrasies, light leaks and accidents form the character of these photographs — I just happen to press the button. Using this camera is like riding a good horse, you just hold onto the reins and let her run. I don’t have a camera. I don’t walk around taking photos. It was this particular camera that I became engaged with.” – Julian Schnabel, 2018
For the first time in Austria, OstLicht Gallery presents Julian Schnabel’s Polaroids. The American painter, sculptor and filmmaker has been taking unique photographs for over a decade using a rare twenty by twenty-four inch Polaroid Land camera made in the 1970s. Schnabel doesn’t take pictures so much as makes them. Many of the works brought together here are portraits of the artist’s family and friends. These photographs are sketches of Schnabel’s life. There are portraits of Lou Reed, Plácido Domingo, Mickey Rourke, and Max von Sydow; private rooms in the Palazzo Chupi in New York; his studios in Montauk and Manhattan. Schnabel took his first Polaroid picture in 2002 with the twenty by twenty-four inch handmade camera. Only six of these cameras are still known to exist. Because of its massive construction, its slow lens and the necessity to use powerful flash units, it was originally conceived for studio shoots, but the bulkiness of this apparatus leaves Schnabel unaffected. He resists its predetermined handling and operates this giant machine in various spaces, even outdoors. The large-format Polaroid film allows for a wide range of tones and shades that are unrivalled in their nuances.
Julian Schnabel, Polaroids
Until August 6th
OstLicht. Gallery for Photography
T +43 (0)1 996 20 66
F +43 (0)1 996 20 66 66