Elinor Carucci

What's on: Elinor Carucci

Gagosian Gallery

Call it beginner’s luck, if you will. The success of Elinor Carucci’s book, Closer—depicting that very real, if seldom disclosed, intimacy between close relatives—is well deserved. In this personal show, upstairs at Gagosian (until 15 June), we can sense viewers’ reactions to such intensely human fare, often in extreme close up. Although large is not necessarily better, it can work perfectly, making small but telling details of familiarity life-sized. “Eye” (1996) zeroes in on a larger-than-life, long lashed, probably female eye—her mother’s or her own? Its surface brims with water, almost overflowing the tear-duct, whether from sadness, irritation or joy, we simply do not know. Reflected in the flood, is an overwhelming blue. “Zipper mark” (1999), reveals an indent on flesh in medical detail. “My mother’s lips” (1997), shows little else, prompting immediate recall of what a mother’s lips might mean, by reference to the mouth in figurative art tradition. Other images concentrate on inter-personal relationships: herself and her younger brother in “Haircut” (1994), last seen upstairs at the Photographer’s gallery in 1999; her parents, or her husband, Eran. In one, he reclines beside and behind Carucci with just one eye visible, placed rather like the couples in tomb sculptures. “Counting tips” (1999) (above), shows Carucci nude, leaning over like a bather by Degas or Toulouse-Lautrec, counting dollar bills after working in a night-club. C-prints, editions of 8, priced: $5,500.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 137 June 2003