Sally Mann: Remembered Light at the Gagosian Gallery
By Helena Calmfors
The Gagosian Gallery is currently showing Sally Mann’s Remembered Light, a documentation and exploration of the working surroundings of her late mentor and friend, artist Cy Twombly. The photos, both in color and black-and-white, are taken during a period of 13 years before Twombly’s death. There is a sense of quietness to the images that provide a pause in time and space rather than an interruption and where time seems to be suspended. The intimate and sublime imagery that Sally Mann is known for continue to be present in Remembered Light as she captures the artist in each photograph without physically ever showing him. Instead his presence is felt through the space and the objects that he surrounded himself with.
Light is a central theme and functions as a common thread throughout the works binding the exhibition together. Flooding in trough windows and doors, the photographs even seem to portray light before the objects and the space bathing in it. By exposing light as a subject in surroundings with tangible traces of Twombly’s creativity, such as his tools and paint stains from his work, the absence of the artist in the very photos turn into a presence of him. His artistry is thus portrayed as something continuous and free from his body.
The title, “Remembered Light”, is retrieved from Mark Strand’s poem “The End”, and the third verse of it is printed on the wall of the exhibition space. Mann has stated that the show is in no way a memorialization but instead a continuum of Twombly’s work, and the verse of the poem embody that very idea:
“When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end”
The exhibition is up until October 29th at 976 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075. Gallery Hours: Tue–Sat 10-6.