Above: Bedroom, Ciudadela, formerly the house of Countess O’Reilly, the Condesa de Buenavista, 6 #320, Miramar, Havana, Cuba, 2001, Fujicolor Crystal archive print, 40 x 50 inches
These are exquisite images – rich in minute detail and saturated colour, luscious interiors that each has its own compelling narrative. Multi-award winning photographer Robert Polidori began his career with an atmospheric series on the restoration of the Chateau de Versailles. He went on to photograph the devastation post Chernobyl and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, among other significant events. Born in Montreal and based in New York, he’s published 11 books, worked for numerous newspapers and magazines notably the New Yorker, and even photographed fashion (take a look at Bottega Veneta’s stunning Fall/Winter 2011/2012 campaign). He’s represented in prestigious collections worldwide, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s V&A.
In Polidori’s work, architectural spaces are allowed to tell emotive human stories of culture, society, the passage of time, history, loss, destruction, celebration, reward. He describes vacant rooms as exoskeletons of people’s lives. His pictures (taken with a large format camera using slow shutter speeds) of Chateau de Versailles and various interiors in Havana, Cuba are gorgeous to look at: in tonal range, depth, perspective and moral weight, they are like Dutch master paintings. The colours have texture, they are soft as old suede or gleam like silver; there’s soulful beauty in the fall of light and in the detail (lavish decoration, or part removed plastic sheeting, or peeling walls), layers of memory and meaning captured and exposed by the camera’s all seeing eye.
Images: Courtesy of Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Above: Home of Mercedes Alfonso Linea 508 (Between D and E), Vibora, Havana, Cuba, 1997, archival inkjet print, 40 x 50 inches
Robert Polidori Ars Memorativa at Sundaram Tagore Gallery Hong Kong September 25 – October 16, 2011. Take a look at the website image galley http://www.sundaramtagore.com/exhibitions/2011-09-15_robert-polidori/selected-works/
Above: Salle de Crimée Sud, (99) ANR.02.036, Salles de l’Afrique, Aile du Nord – 1er étage, Château de Versailles, 1985, archival inkjet print, 40 x 50 inches
The highly prestigious Scholarship to the value of $25,000 includes a three-month residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris administered by the Art Gallery of NSW. She was chosen from a field of 87 young artists (all under 30) and a final selection of just 5. James Drinkwater and Nicholas Fintan were highly commended. The judges were artist Colin Lanceley and the AGNSW’s Head of Australian Art Wayne Tunnicliffe. Gallery Director Edmund Capon presented the award (not before receiving a bottle of champagne himself, to mark his retirement later this year). Becky Gibson made a short speech of thanks and paid particular tribute to Beryl Whiteley (Brett’s mother) responsible for the creation and endowment of the Scholarship, who died last year. The small crowd of artists, art world figures and media gathered at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills included doyenne Wendy Whiteley in her signature headscarf and statement jewelry.
Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2011 on view 10th Sep – 27th Nov, Brett Whiteley Studio, 2 Raper Street Surry Hills 2010, Sydney Australia, open Saturdays & Sundays only from 10am-4pm. www.brettwhiteley.org