A Room for Solace:
An Exhibition of Domestic Interiors
Curated by Alec Soth
Curatorial Statement: How should the photography world respond to the times in which we live? I’m reminded of Henri-Cartier-Bresson’s criticism of photographers like Edward Weston and Ansel Adams in the early 1950’s: “Now, in this moment, this crisis, with the world maybe going to pieces – to photograph a landscape!”
The same could be said, of course, of photographs of domestic interiors. When the world is burning, what’s the point of photographing a fireplace? But then I turn to Walker Evans’ picture of a fireplace in Alabama. When Evans made the photo in 1936, I’m sure it felt like the world was going to pieces as much as it did for Cartier-Bresson in the 1950s. But looking at it now in his book Message From the Interior (1966), instead of despair I feel something closer to its opposite.
When I think of photographers finding hope in dark times, I think of Robert Adams. While he is most often thought of as a landscape photographer, Adams published a remarkable portfolio entitled Interiors 1973-1974. “These rooms seemed to me then to be mostly sad,” he wrote in 2005, “although what strikes me now is the evidence in them, however fragile, of caring.”
With this exhibition, I want to take a break from the fractious public square of photography and wander quietly into people’s homes. Behind these doors I hope to find a sliver of solace in these unstable times. This special exhibition at The Photography Show will feature domestic interiors that speak to the possibility of finding refuge during turbulent times.
Alec Soth is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has published over twenty-five books including Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), NIAGARA (2006), Broken Manual (2010), and Songbook (2015). Soth has had over fifty solo exhibitions including survey shows organized by Jeu de Paume in Paris (2008), the Walker Art Center in Minnesota (2010) and Media Space in London (2015). Soth has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (2013). In 2008, Soth created Little Brown Mushroom, a multi-media enterprise focused on visual storytelling. Soth is represented by Sean Kelly in New York, Weinstein Hammons Gallery in Minneapolis, Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Loock Gallery in Berlin and is a member of Magnum Photos.