NEW YORK. Pedro Almodóvar “Waiting for the light” 30 april – 29 june 2019. Marlborough Gallery.

Waiting For The Light presents the artist’s most recent group of photographic still lifes. As in his films, which are dotted with erudite quotes and historical allusions, his work as a photographer references the realist painters in Madrid, especially Antonio López García and Isabel Quintanilla, and the manner of focusing on the quotidian in a way that makes the objects visually transcendent. The photographs in the exhibition also bear relation to his films, with the Pop touches, sense of domesticity and innovative use of color. All the images have an unmistakable Almodóvarian flavor.

The title refers to Almodóvar’s creative process as an artist, he feels that his most important task as a photographer is to wait for the ideal light. All the photographs are shot in his home’s interior using sunlight through the windows, and the precise light might only last a few precious minutes.

The artist works in his everyday quarters with the objects around him. In the past he has placed fruits and glassware, the “protagonists” of the images on this occasion are vases and withering flowers. In the words of the artist:

This past winter I started to get bored with the wooden surface of the side table and the color of the wall. I had painted the wall of and used several wooden planks painted different colors as a base, on top of the table. Five colors in total. The flowers from previous sessions were drying up, but I was still using them.  I realized that as they lost freshness they were more versatile and they photographed better. Without realizing it, I was photographing the passage of time, in the light and in the flowers.

Almodóvar’s approach to the tradition of the still life presents beauty in the forlorn, as his compositions decompose before our eyes. The striking colors behind and beneath the objects on display make their collective presence—the ”star quality”—even bolder, the overall experience more intensely poetic.

Pedro Almodóvar was born in Calzada de Calatrava, Province of Ciudad Real, in the 1950s. At the age of eight the artist moved with his family to Extremadura, where he, in his student years, began attending the cinema compulsively. At eighteen he arrived in Madrid, and after being sporadically employed, and unable to study film as Franco had closed the Film Institute, he settled into his first “serious” job as an administrative assistant at the Spanish National Telephone Company, where he worked for a dozen years. He considers these years as his true artistic training, through the daily contact with a social class that he otherwise would not have known: the Spanish Middle Class at the beginning of the Consumer Age. He witnessed first-hand their dramas and their miseries. It was a treasure trove for a future storyteller. (Marlborough press-release)

MARLBOROUGH GALLERY, INC. 40 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Image: Pedro Almodóvar