«Giorgio Morandi painted and drew the same humble objects over the course of decades. By carefully placing them in different combinations and arrangements, his paintings, watercolours and drawings explore on one level, the physicality of light, shadow and scale, and, on another, the intangibility of representation and perception.


Some eleven years ago, the world-renowned street photographer, Joel Meyerowitz became preoccupied by three used and rusted objects he had bought in a garage sale: a dented brass tube, a rusted tin flask, and a pewter container. He took them to his studio near Siena. It was a hot summer and working indoors was a relief from the pounding heat of the sun outside. His studio was dark and cool. Using a single skylight as his only light source, he stood the objects on a flat surface and moved them around watching their personalities change as they interacted with each other. He remembers:

“After a few weeks of conversation with these objects I began to understand the pleasures that Giorgio Morandi had filled his days with: making the incremental adjustments of space between objects, considering the scale and groupings, the distance to the background, feeling the personae of the characters that emerge from slight alterations in the positions of these well-worn objects, and finally the quality of the light or, in this case, darkness that they stood in.”


From this infatuation Morandi’s Objects was born. Photographing the objects in the same room that Morandi worked, using Morandi’s surfaces and the same light source to cast the same shadows, Meyerowitz explored the painter’s elusive subject matter and provides a deeper insight into painter’s lifelong obsession. These photographs reveal, not only the character of the objects themselves, but also how Morandi transformed them before he included them in a painting; how he discoloured some by filling them with paint, transforming their transparency to opacity; how he painted others to modify their form and some he wrapped in paper to alter their mass; and how he also made objects of his own.


These photographs are a form of investigation, an analysis, if you will, of the art of perception. They celebrate the individuality of each of these characters, giving them a presence and confidence of their own, but they also provide an appreciation of Morandi’s ability to look at the simplest of things and, with the introduction of light, composition, and scale transform them into something elusive, intangible, and timeless.


Joel Meyerowitz (b. 1938) was trained as a painter, but an afternoon spent with Robert Frank in the early 1960s changed his destiny. In the years that followed, Meyerowitz dedicated himself to his medium and in 1963 his work was selected by John Szarkowski, Director of Photographer at New York’s Museum of Modern Art to be included in the seminal exhibition The Photographer’s Eye. Over the following decades he mastered black and white and became a pioneer of colour photography, instrumental in changing the art world’s attitude to it being accepted as an art form. His photographs of the streets of New York and other American cities are iconic in the history of photography. He is internationally regarded as one of the most important and influential street photographers and has co-authored Bystander, the standard work on the genre.


He has since had numerous solo exhibitions in major museums all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (1968), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1978), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1980), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1981), Brooklyn Museum, NY 1986), Art Forum Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1991), The Art Institute of Chicago (1994), Biennale di Venezia (2002), Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006), Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (2013), Kunsthaus, Vienna (2015), C/O Berlin (2017). He has published over 40 books.


Morandi’s Objects have been shown at the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York and the Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid, among other places».


-Amanda Renshaw, Joel Meyerowitz - Morandi's Objects