March 7 – April 27, 2024
Thursday, March 7, 2024
6 – 8 PM
Curated by Jackson Siegal, Associate Director
CLAMP is pleased to present The Colossus, an exhibition of photographs by Ian Lewandowski, the artist’s second solo show in New York.
Lewandowski collects source imagery like a bird canvasing for materials to build a nest. The world that the artist documents and builds in his images is populated by the poses and visual artifacts of the past—from art, history, queer life, pornography, erotica, and Instagram.
Lewandowski moved from Indiana to New York in 2011 to study photography at the Pratt Institute clinging to a MTA subway map and a camera phone. Thirteen years post-arrival, Lewandowski no longer needs to carry the now crumpled and outdated map, and instead lugs around his large format camera and tripod.
Many of the photographs in The Colossus were created by the artist during the COVID-19 pandemic and trace the navigation between domestic and public spaces, and a complex negotiation between safety and exposure. The earlier images in the series, often shot in private interior spaces in New York, communicate a level of intimacy between the photographer and subject, in a shielded collaborative environment.
During the lockdown, the artist was driven outdoors to maintain a level of comfort and safety for both him and his subjects—the public realm pierced the frame. Bedrooms became parks and the shrouded, intimate process the artist had been executing evolved into something that extended to the landscape of neighborhoods, and as an extension, the entire city.
In “Self Portrait on Studio Floor II (after Tabboo!),” Lewandowski sits on the floor holding a shutter release, shirtless, wearing only thermal long underwear. His torso is adorned in an array of tattoos, each with a distinct visual style and their own respective source materials. The artist’s pose is based on a painting by contemporary artist Tabboo! depicting the photographer, Mark Morrisroe.
Photographing friends, acquaintances, and strangers, Lewandowski makes his images as an inheritor and author of queer history and visual culture. In his reference of an image created through a collaboration of two artists and friends (Tabboo! and Morrisroe), Lewandowski is simultaneously memorializing a past instance of belonging and erecting a new structure for the photograph as blueprint through which to model one’s present and future. The Colossus presents a contemporary existence imbued with the contours and indentations of multiple histories.
The Colossus of Rhodes, a monument to the sun god Helios, was one of the seven manmade wonders of the ancient world before it collapsed. The Colossus was also the theme of an elaborate 2004 beach party in the Fire Island Pines, an event which disbanded when it began to rain, and guests sought refuge at a competing indoor event.
Coinciding with Lewandowski’s exhibition at CLAMP, a risograph catalogue, designed by Liam Nolan and printed by TXTbooks (Brooklyn), will be released. There will be two hundred copies of a signed and numbered standard edition available for purchase during the run of the show as well as twenty copies of a special edition version. The special edition will be hand-bound by Sarah Smith and will include a signed and numbered gelatin silver print postcard, unique cyanotype cover, and a mini-pamphlet of Polaroid test shots from the body of work. Both versions of the publication include a foreword written by Nolan and a suite of poems by S. Eath.
Ian Lewandowski (b. 1990) is a photographer from Northwest Indiana. His first solo exhibition, Community Board, was exhibited at The Java Project in Brooklyn in 2019. The Ice Palace Is Gone, his body of large-format color portraits made from 2018-19, was published as his first monograph by Magic Hour Press (Montréal) in 2021. My Man Mitch, his body of photographs and photo-based material native to his home state of Indiana, was published by Kult Books (Stockholm) in 2022. He teaches undergraduate and continuing education courses in photography at The New School and Gowanus Darkroom and manages and prints the photo work of Kenny Gardner (1913-2002). He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Anthony, and their dog named Seneca.