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  • Provenance

    Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Brooks, Subjective Realities: Works from the Refco Collection of Contemporary Photography, pp. 88-89
    Galassi, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, p. 30
    Harper's Magazine, April 1993, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s Igor and Fish seamlessly merges classic and contemporary streams of photography. Regarding the former, diCorcia’s Igor echoes Walker Evans pioneering candid photographs of subway riders in the late 1930s. Their groundbreaking effect lay in Evans’s relinquishing of control over the seemingly unaware passengers. As a body of work, Evans’s subway portraits were therefore less concerned with the tenets of portraiture as they were with capturing the casual and unexpected charm of candid street photography. Similarly, under diCorcia’s lens, Igor does not conform to viewers’ expectation of a portrait. Rather, he is a character; an emblem of the myriad of colorful characters who crowd the New York City subway. Holding a goldfish in a plastic bag with a look of nonchalance, Igor appears almost oblivious to the inevitable connections viewers are drawn to make between him and the goldfish. Indeed, the isolation of the fish from its’ normal context and its’ subsequent containment in a plastic bag appears to be reflected in Igor’s state of mind. He looks away, his head framed by a New York Subway map, with its intricate tangle of train lines. His gaze appears to evade the viewers, appearing lost in thought.

    Nonetheless, diCorcia’s image may not be fully candid, but rather carefully staged, which would resonate more with contemporary photography. In 1993 the artist Robert Indiana identified Igor as an architect, originally from Trieste, who had acted in some films in the 1970s. “He’s carrying the goldfish to drop in an aquarium I’ve never noticed in his house,” Indiana later recalled. “Maybe it’s for the restaurant he used to own on Greenwich Street; at home, Igor’s a cat person.” By revealing Igor’s foray into acting, and diCorcia’s known affinity for blurring the lines between reality and fiction, the image in the current lot could also be a contemporary meditation on identity and the self. Indeed, it is a work whose careful balance between the two ends of the spectrum successfully allows the image to continuously intrigue and fascinate the viewers.

305

Igor

1987
Chromogenic print.
16 1/4 x 22 3/4 in. (41.3 x 57.8 cm)
Signed and dated in ink on the verso. Number 7 from an edition of 20.

Estimate
$18,000 - 22,000 

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