John Stezaker’s Shadow, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist and Petzel, New York.
John Stezaker’s Shadow, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist and Petzel, New York.

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 ofpromotional posters, film stills were displayed behind glass. “That’s how I became fascinated with cinema—from adistance,” 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 andcutouts for more than three decades: film noir stills from the ’40s and ’50s, of whichStezaker has a vast collection. Each silk-screened piece (there is also a freneticshort video) features the dark silhouette ofa 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 shadowsrather than the light.”