Private letters, newspaper stories, police mug shots; they all create a sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with how we as a society function, and the ways in which we try to cover over these with bright lights and make up. What is refreshing is the absence of some moralizing solution. Clark isn’t grinding an axe, especially since in many of the situations he documents, he is also participating. He merely acts as a window into a very dark and difficult world, hidden from view but still present.
The difficulty in discussing Larry Clark’s work is perhaps best summed up by a poster I saw in a bus station a couple of hours after I had seen his new exhibition at C/O Berlin, a gallery for photography. It was a large billboard poster, plain white, with only the artist’s name written in the middle and the usual gallery small print at the bottom.
Even in a city as liberal and open as Berlin, trying to advertise Clark’s work with one of his own images is problematic. The main image used elsewhere to promote Clark’s show is a close-up of his muse Tiffany Limos’s pubic area, with the tattoo ‘Larry’ clearly visible… read more >