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The artist

Launching this collection were giant images by Kodak, in the hall of Grand Central Station in New York, which the firm used at the time to proclaim its photographic omnipotence. Used as advertising tools in the legendary Manhattan train station from 1950 to 1990, the plastered images were transparent and backlit, with exceptional dimensions spanning 18 metres wide by 6 metres high. This was a first in the world of photography. Through their spectacular, almost surrealistic stagings, these panoramas became communication tools in service to the promotion of the brand’s film and cameras. In true soap-opera style, for over 40 years Kodak Colorama Display staged the story of ideal families with exemplary lives, without contradiction or contestation. In other words, the very expression of the post-war American dream, in its most pleasant and universally adoptable form.  ... See more See less

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About the artwork

The images of the Colorama collection served above all the commercial promotion of the films and cameras of the Kodak firm. They are shown in every picture. However, through their aesthetic and ambition, these monumental formats surpassed the advertising norms and technological prowess of the era. These surrealist stagings refer to the common and classic theme of the passage of time, showcasing the main function of the camera: as a way of capturing and conserving the best moments of a life, whether it be birthdays, family gatherings, weddings, or holiday scenes. They tell the story of an ideal family and produce, in so doing, a deliberately patriotic and conservative discourse on 1950s and 1960s America. In this colourful promotion of the ?American Way of Life?, the counter-culture seems non-existent and everything appears perfectly flawless behind the dazzling colours and frozen smiles of cheerful characters. Signed by Robert Phillips, this picture presents the Rockettes, a legendary dance troupe with meticulously controlled choreographies.

Artwork details

Date photograph was taken

15 November 2018

Artwork subject

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