Sean Kelly is delighted to announce a solo presentation of photographs by Alec Soth curated by the artist exclusively for the ADAA’s Art Show. Entitled SLEEPWALKING, this focused booth brings together photographs from bodies of work Soth has produced over the past two decades as well as images from his personal archive. In each deeply personal photograph, Soth visualizes the liminal space of hypnagogia, that transitional, often hallucinatory state between wakefulness and sleep.
In his first publication, Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), Soth introduced the book with an epigraph from Charles Lindbergh as a point of departure for this particular kind of consciousness. Describing the twenty-second hour of his transatlantic flight in The Spirit of St. Louis, Lindberg wrote:
“Over and over again I fall asleep with my eyes open, knowing I’m falling asleep, unable to prevent it. When I fall asleep this way, my eyes are cut off from my ordinary mind as though they were shut, but they become directly connected to this new, extraordinary mind which grows increasingly competent to deal with their impressions.”
As a photographer, Soth often finds himself wandering such spaces during the blue hour of dusk, where consciousness of the physical world fades and develops into a hallucinatory dream state. Reflecting on his previous bodies of work, Soth observes that “in virtually every project from the last two decades, I’ve found myself at some point wandering in the twilight like a sleepwalker.” These photographs invite viewers into moments of solitude, coated by a blanket of hazy cool tones where the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred, allowing one to form their own narrative.
Soth’s longstanding practice is rooted in documenting the distant lives and landscapes of suburban and rural communities throughout the United States with his large format camera. Throughout his oeuvre, Soth seeks to find comfort in creating intimate human connections that are revealed through portraits of strangers, documenting places and spaces unfamiliar to many. Interested in the mythologies and distinct particularities of the American landscape, Soth has an instinct for creating poetic and intimate visual storytelling.