Metropolitan Underworlds

Metropolitan Underworlds

Benrubi Gallery, New York, presents Manhattan Sunday by Richard Renaldi. The exhibition is a photographic diary, with entries from 2010 to the present day, working to celebrate the metropolitan night-club industry. All the images were taken in Manhattan, in the early hours of Sunday morning following a night in New York.

The images portray a sensuality tempered by reflection, images subtly informed by hedonism. bare skin and muscled bodies feature in its portraits, whilst disco balls depict the moment as still life, faces transfixed in a depiction of bliss. The black and white lens works to merge day with night, lending a coolness to the scenes- with long exposure shots catch both the euphoria and the transience of the club experience. The photos occupy a liminal space, between rapture and meditation.

Renaldi notes: “It was in these serene moments, leaving the clubs, totally spent, that a new city revealed itself to me.” The artist is renowned for his portraiture, particularly in the acclaimed series Touching Strangers, which communicates the richness of the subject’s inner personality with a few subtle and almost unnoticeable details. This attention to detail is also present in Manhattan Sunday, the glint from a disco ball, the stray curl of dark hair, the detail of an elaborate tattoo; this depth in the photos contrasts with the enormity of the New York skyline, of its architecture and iconic streets, to lend the portraits a unique character.

The series goes beyond a suggestion that clubbing is transient or transcendental, it celebrates the experience as a space that hold the individual. Mingling in between documentary and portraiture, Renaldi begs the question: is the show about to start of it is had already ended?

Manhattan Sunday runs until 23 December at Benrubi Gallery, New York. Find out more:

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1. Richard Renaldi Manhattan Sunday (2016). Courtesy of the gallery.