Lewis Baltz: Common Objects

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Common Objects brings together images from Lewis Baltz’s most notable series The Prototype Works, The Tract Houses (1969–1971), Candlestick Point (1987–1989), Sites of Technology (1989–1991) and Ronde de Nuit (1992-1995), and presents them in dialogue with stills from iconic films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard.

The book is a beautiful visual experience that sees some of the more explosive, emotive scenes from a number of films printed on see-through plastic and laid over Baltz’s classically austere and neutral images of architecture, wastelands and windows. As photographs and film stills overlap each other in stark contrasts, black and white spaces reminiscent of movie theatre screens merge and distort. Among the usual absence of human presence in Baltz’s images, figures appear and disappear. The optical pleasure of consuming Baltz’s images through film stills printed on acetate, invites the viewer to consider the influence of cinema on Baltz’ oeuvre, and the power of those quiet incidents of pure cinematic impact in films such as Psycho and Zabriskie Point upon his visual imagination.

– Joanna Cresswell

Common Objects by Lewis Baltz is published by Steidl and available from The Photographers’ Gallery bookshop.

Two accompanying essays by David Campany and Dominique Paini explore ideas of cinema and the optical unconscious in relation to Baltz’s work. The book comes in a screen-printed transparent slipcase that echoes that of a record cover. 

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