Artist John Stezaker explores his fascination for film with a new solo show.
When the artist John Stezaker was a teenager, his parents wouldn’t allow him to go to the movies, so he lingered longingly outside his local theater in Worcester, England, where in the early ’60s, in lieu of promotional posters, film stills were displayed behind glass. “That’s how I became fascinated with cinema—from a distance,” Stezaker, 65, explains. His solo show of new work, opening October 9 (through November 8) at Petzel, New York, draws on the same source material that has inspired his famed collages and cutouts for more than three decades: film noir stills from the ’40s and ’50s, of which Stezaker has a vast collection. Each silk-screened piece (there is also a frenetic short video) features the dark silhouette of a star who has been erased from the scene, so that your attention is diverted to the picture’s fringes and empty spaces. Says Stezaker, “They’re about the shadows rather than the light.”