Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of colour, form, and composition. His vividly saturated photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning. A pioneer of colour photography, Eggleston helped elevate the medium to the art form that it is recognised to be today.
The works on view in 2¼ were taken around 1977 throughout California and the American South following the artist’s groundbreaking exhibition of colour photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976. Eggleston shot the images using a two-and-one-quarter-inch square-format camera. The resulting photographs of individuals, cars, parking lots, and local stores and businesses speak to the uniformity of postwar material culture while revealing the distinct character and individualism of the people and places that populate the American landscape. Many of the images in 2¼ were first published as a monograph of the same title by Twin Palms in 1999. Several were also included in Cadillac, a portfolio of thirteen chromogenic prints that Eggleston produced the same year.
On view at 24 Grafton Street in London, the show marks the artist’s first presentation at the gallery’s UK location and his second solo exhibition with David Zwirner since joining the gallery in 2016. It follows recent exhibitions of the artist’s work in the UK, including William Eggleston: Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2016, and William Eggleston at Tate Modern, London, in 2013.