Phillip Lorca diCorcia’s highly anticipated exhibition, which will go on show later this month at the David Zwirner gallery, borrows its name from John Steinbeck’s cherished magnum opus, “East of Eden”. The novel is a modernisation of the classic biblical tale; two brothers, Cain and Able. Spanning several generations of a troubled family, the novels characters become seemingly lost to depravity and wanton love as you read on.  We are aware of a perpetual contest between good and evil and are reminded of acceptance and of practising love whilst overcoming our judgment.

“East of Eden” the collective of work diCorcia has been working on since 2008, is a set of large –scale fictive portraits that depict ostensibly lost individuals, after a “fall”. DiCorcia was inspired by the political and economic mood that beset America, following the wind-up of the Bush era.  Somewhere between theatrical and documentary photography, the sense of disillusionment his photographs emit are an indication of the mass loss of innocence felt. “People thought they could have anything. And then it just blew up in their faces. I’m using the Book of Genesis as a start.”

Empty faces, barren landscapes. The only thing that individuates diCorcia’s subjects is the search for beauty within the perpetual American dream. Yet both photograph and novel, draw parallels.  The discovery of the Hebrew word “Timshel”, meaning “thou mayest”, steers the story into hope and equally diCorcia’s work reflects this. As we mediate upon the fate of the image and its occupants, diCorcia’s vision becomes clear. Humanity has the power to overcome its legacy; ultimately one has the freedom to choose their path.

September 25 – November 16, 2013


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