Harry Gruyart - Belgium, Brussels. Place Flagey, 1981

Harry Gruyaert

Roots

11/09/2018

03/11/2018

Gallery FIFTY ONE

Opening reception: Saturday, Sept. 8th 2019 from 2 – 6 pm, in the presence of the artist and with a reading by Dimitri Verhulst.

After a critically-acclaimed retrospective at the FOMU in Antwerp, Harry Gruyaert (Belgium, 1941) returns to his stomping ground for his second solo show at Gallery FIFTY ONE. Roots involves both exhibition spaces, with a presentation of colour images in FIFTY ONE and black-and-white work in FIFTY ONE TOO.

Read the full press release here.

Harry Gruyaert - Boom, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Boom, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Brussels, night club, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Brussels, night club, 1981

Harry Gruyaert

Originally dreaming of becoming a film director, Harry Gruyaert studied at the School of Film and Photography in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. Shortly after he left Belgium at the age of 21, fleeing the strict catholic environment in which he was raised. Gruyaert travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa, Asia and the United States and lived in cities with a vibrant film and photography scene like Paris and London. During his first trip to New York in 1968, he discovered Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. This encounter made him appreciate the creative potential of colour and encouraged him to search for beauty in everyday elements for the rest of his career. Around the same time Gruyaert befriended the American artists Richard Nonas and Gordon Matta-Clark and photographed their work. Further inspired by the visual impulses on his first trip to Morocco in 1969, he decided in the second half of the 1970s as one of the first photographers in Europe to commit himself entirely to colour photography.

Gruyaert’s cinematographic background instilled in him an aesthetic conception of photography. Rather than telling stories or documenting the world through his lens, he searches for beauty in everyday elements. His images are simply snapshots of magical moments in which different visual elements, primarily colour, form, light and movement, spontaneously come together in front of his lens.

biography

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1941
Lives and works in Paris, France
Member of Magnum Photos since 1982

Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris. Café la Palette, 1985
Still from the documentary 'Harry Gruyaert, Photographer'
Trailer of the documentary 'Harry Gruyaert, Photographer' (2018)

Colour

In his search for strong graphical images, Gruyaert focuses his camera on objects as much as on people, who are often reduced to silhouettes or rendered to plain colour fields. Unsurprisingly the countries he photographs are mostly identified by means of the subtle differences in colour palette and light, inherent to the local atmosphere, culture and climate, more than by the depicted subjects or scenes.

Among his most well-known series are ‘Rivages/Edges’, featuring coastal views from around the world, that Gruyaert photographed out of a fascination for the rapidly changing light in these places. In the early 1970s, while he was living in London, Gruyaert worked on a series of colour television screen shots later to become the ‘TV Shots’ and now part of the Centre Pompidou collection. Around that time he regularly returned to his home country Belgium. This resulted in the series ‘Roots’, that perfectly reflects the Belgian Zeitgeist of the 1970s and 1980s.

Harry Gruyaert - France, Berck Plage, 2007
Harry Gruyaert - France, Berck Plage, 2007
Screening 'Irish Summers'. Photographs by Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos, Music: Tuur Florizoone, Contrabass: Soet Kempeneer, Production: Valéry Faidherbe, Calibration: Albin Millot
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Ostend. Thermae Palace, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Ostend. Thermae Palace, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - France, Fort-Mahon, 1991
Harry Gruyaert - France, Fort-Mahon, 1991
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Ostend, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Ostend, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - France, Nice, La baie des Anges, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - France, Nice, La baie des Anges, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Las Vegas International Airport, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Las Vegas International Airport, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, Airport Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, Airport Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Los Angeles, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Los Angeles, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Las Vegas, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Las Vegas, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Nevada, Las Vegas, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, Nevada, Las Vegas, 1982
Harry Gruyaert - USA, New York City, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - USA, New York City, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Essaouira, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Essaouira, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Ouarzazate, 1986
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Ouarzazate, 1986
Harry Gruyaert - India, Rajasthan, 1976
Harry Gruyaert - India, Rajasthan, 1976
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Erfoud, 1975
Harry Gruyaert - Morocco, Erfoud, 1975
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Boom, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Boom, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, Rue Royale, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, Rue Royale, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Boom, National road #1, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Boom, National road #1, 1988
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, Midi Station, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Brussels, Midi Station, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Charleroi, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - Belgium, Charleroi, 1981
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - France, Paris, 1985
Harry Gruyaert - Russia, Moscow, 1989
Harry Gruyaert - Russia, Moscow, 1989
Harry Gruyaert - Russia, Moscow, 1989
Harry Gruyaert - Russia, Moscow, 1989