Reinier Gerritsen

The Last Book

December 13 - February 7, 2015

Reception and book signing, Saturday, December 13, 3-6 pm

Conversation between Gerritsen and René Put, designer, Tuesday, December, 9, 6:30 pm at the Aperture Gallery and Bookstore

The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our first solo exhibition with Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen in conjunction with the new Aperture publication The Last Book. For almost a decade Gerritsen has been working in the New York City subways. Here he explores the act of reading as it occurs in public spaces the cramped and jostled environment of a subway car. It began as a series of modest observations and transformed into a collection of vivid documentary portraits, set against a visual landscape of best sellers, classics, romance novels, detective thrillers and every kind of printed book, as diverse as the readers. Conceived as an elegy to the end of bound books, in a positive twist it has now become evident that people are moving away from electronic reading devices and that the printed book is alive and well!

Gerritsen records through a burst of exposures, capturing many images in rapid succession. Next he uses Photoshop to recombine the figures, selecting each individual’s expression and gesture. The diversity of age, gender, ethnicity and of course reading selections, is spectacularly broad. Ultimately, it is the individual portraits which form the group that make Gerritsen a great documentarian of humanity. The shallow space, sharp focus, gestures and grimaces and jewel like color in his photographs bring to mind his 15th century Dutch predecessors such as Quentin Matsys. In addition to his standard format of wide color prints he has interspersed throughout the book black and white individual “studies” of readers. An entire index of the books being read and their ISBN numbers complete the book.

Gerritsen (born Amsterdam, 1950) has been photographing in the public sphere for over twenty years and exhibited widely in Europe. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious Rijksmusuem commission that resulted in a book and exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. Selections from his book Wall Street Stop (2010) introduced his work to the US in Being American at the SVA Gallery in 2011 and Metro here in spring of 2014. His previous three monographs were published in 1993, 2002, and Wall Street Stop in 2010.

Signed copies of the Aperture publication will be available at the exhibition.

This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

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