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The photographer Philip Lorca diCorcia also draws unmistakably from film and TV to create his works. Over the past years, DiCorcia, born like Longo in 1953 on the American East Coast, has primarily photographed street scenes in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, and Los Angeles: people in cities on their way home or to work, shopping, or going out - in a manner, however, that comes across as being extremely artificial. DiCorcia's trick is also relatively simple; it originates, of course, in the advertising and TV aesthetic. DiCorcia's seemingly random, yet in truth carefully arranged images are characterized by a special lighting situation that only becomes obvious upon closer inspection: it's the typical television lighting with the crisp shadows, spotlights, and so-called "daylight lamps" that make his photographs seem so artificial.

Richard Prince, All the Best (Cameron Diaz, Kate Holmes, Brandon Lee),
Deutsche Bank Collection, Courtesy © Galerie Jablonka

On the other hand, Richard Prince prefers to dedicate himself to Hollywood's star system. Thus, for example, Deutsche Bank Art possesses a series of autographed cards, readymades that have found entry into Prince's overall work. The images on the autographed cards are for the most part film stills of the respective actors or actresses - and, as such, are far removed from anything that could be termed reality. Richard Prince became interested in these cards because they impressively illustrate the properties of the visual codes that generate images.

Cameron Diaz in a negligee on a beach in the evening, Pamela Anderson as the girl next door, Keanu Reaves in a rain-soaked T-shirt: these photographs are unrealistic, torn out of their contexts, and have little to do with the persons represented - yet despite this, or precisely for this very reason, they possess a high degree of seductive power.

Jeff Wall, Man with a Rifle, Courtesy © Jeff Wall

Incidentally, the phenomenon of artists borrowing from film is by no means limited to the Anglo Saxon world, as artists such as the German Matthias Müller or the Swiss duo Hubbard/Birchler testify to, to name only three. Yet the movement's center is without a doubt located in Great Britain, Australia, and North America. Whether it's a matter of Douglas Gordon or Stan Douglas, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, or the photographer and master of staging Jeff Wall, who is able to compress entire novels into a single image: they all use the great vision-making machine of Hollywood to confront their public with illusions that have long since become a second reality for us.

Ulrich Clewing

Translation: Andrea Scrima

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