One Eyed Jacks is pleased to announce the launch of its latest show Larry, a solo exhibition featuring the work of French-born, USA-based photographer Larry Niehues (b. 1988). Despite its retrograde appearance, the work has been shot exclusively in the years 2012-2014, revealing how the technologies of a given era are as pivotal in formulating our visual conception of history as the design and fashion of the time. Niehues has not only sought out the physical remnants of the mid-century period to create this facsimile, he’s also made use of the technologies; dated Nikon cameras and lenses, and expired film stock collude to produce the wonderfully soft, bleached out, colour-shifted finish that is so evocative of the era.
Beyond a simple desire to explore the aesthetic of Niehues photographic heroes (Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, Dennis Hopper), his is also a fascination with America of old; a mythical land of cowboys, truckers, bikers, pin-ups, muscle cars and motels that continues to haunt the 21st century imagination. Indeed the retro-obsession and success of cult singer Lana Del Ray and cult film-maker David Lynch tells us that the appetite for this stylised conception of the American Dream is alive and most definitely well.
The ‘Larry’ of our show title might then begin to transcend the story of why a 22-year old left his native home in Southern France for McAllen in South Texas, in pursuit of the Great American road trip. It becomes the Larry of our collective Hollywood memory: the street hustler, the chauffeured pimp, the Elvis impersonator, the weather-beaten cowboy, and the fearsome leader of the biker gang. And of course Larry is always in motion; fleeing the scene of a crime or returning to settle old scores (the road looms large in Niehues’s work). It’s the great libertarian and almost exclusively male story of one rebel giving it all against the world. In attempting to recreate the spirit of these times, Niehues not only tells us a little a bit about the old world; he also tells us a little bit about the new.