Gail Albert-Halaban: VIS-À-VIS at Edwynn Houk Gallery

Image above:  ©Gail Albert-Halaban, Bis rue de Douai, Paris, 9e, le 19 mai, 2013. Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery. 


Edwynn Houk Gallery presented on Thursday May 21st, 2015 an exhibition of new photographs by Gail Albert- Halaban.

Albert-Halaban’s new series, Vis à Vis, is set in Paris, where she peers through and photographs what’s behind the windows in the French city’s apartments and courtyards. Instead of being the voyeur, however, Albert-Halaban is an active participant, stage-managing each scene. The residents are knowingly photographed, as if actors on the film set. They willingly share their intimate, domestic moments: a child’s birthday party, a woman greeting her guests in the foyer, a man reading a book under a dim lamp. The stories and narratives that are told are familiar and open-ended, with Albert-Halaban leaving infinite possibilities as to how the scenes could unfold.

Gail Albert Halaban1Gail Albert-Halaban at Edwynn Houk Gallery during the opening night. 


17 mars, 2013,rue du Temple, Paris 3e,©Gail Albert-Halaban, Rue du Temple, Paris, 3e, le 17 mars, 2013. Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery.


26 septembre,2013, Quai Anatole, Paris 7,©Gail Albert-Halaban, Rue du Guesclin, Paris, 15e, le 31 octobre, 2012. Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery.


With Vis à Vis, Albert-Halaban further explores the quintessential paradox of living in a great urban metropolis: the disconnection and estrangement that exists for all its residents despite living and working so physically near to each another. Initially, it seems that Albert-Halaban is illustrating the loneliness of an urban dweller – isolating a tiny top floor window, for example, amongst a sea of windows within numerous buildings across a vast expanse of the surrounding city. Yet conversely, she is bringing the residents together. By introducing neighbor to neighbor – above, below, next door and across the way – she gains access and permission from both parties to take the photograph from one window while the other is in the photograph. Consequently, a heady dose of optimism can be found in the pictures: her efforts bring disparate souls together, forming a single community.

Rue du Guesclin, Paris, 15e, le 31 octobre, 2012©Gail Albert-Halaban, Quai Anatole, Paris, 7e, le 26 septembre, 2013 . Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery.
April Jenkins and Emily GallagherApril Jenkins and Emily Gallagher at Edwynn Houk Gallery during the opening night. 


A selection of these Paris photographs first appeared as a specially commissioned portfolio for Le Monde Magazine, Paris, in November 2012. A monograph of the entire series has been recently published in French by Editions La Martinière (Vis à Vis) and in English by Aperture (Paris Views). She has had several group and solo exhibitions both in the US and abroad, including at the Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkain, Paris, and the Center of Photography and the Moving Image, New York, and her photographs have been recently acquired by the Fondation Hermès, Paris. Previous series of works include Hopper Redux, the subject of her first exhibition at the gallery, Out My Window, This Stage of Motherhood and About Thirty.

7At Edwynn Houk Gallery during the opening night. 



All Opening images by Kari Bjorn