I’m Not the Only One

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I’m Not the Only One

Sep 8 — Oct 24, 2020

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Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present I’m Not the Only One, a group exhibition that explores solitude alongside our relentless yearning to connect, in photographs and videos from 19 artists that echo and reflect our current socially distant world. The show will be on view from September 8 to October 24, 2020.

I’m Not the Only One is the title of Mishka Henner’s 2015 video, which opens the show. In it, Henner digitally combines 18 videos sourced from YouTube showing individuals performing Sam Smith’s hit song of the same title, alone in their bedrooms and makeshift studios. Stitched together, these solo performances transform the song’s lonely angst into a powerful but immaterial chorus of solidarity and connection. Ironically, the current Covid-19 climate has treated us to a myriad of similar choirs from around the world, intentionally singing alone together. Henner’s prescient piece, envisioned long before a global sheltered-in-place reality, takes on a new layer of meaning today.

Other works in the first gallery explore the pull between being alone and being part of something larger. In Alec Soth’s 2013 photograph a lone figure seems to dance across an empty expanse of concrete on the Facebook campus, emphasizing solitude and physical distance in contrast with the internet’s promise of ubiquitous connection. And in Katy Grannan’s 2018 image Schatzi, Gerlach, Nevada, a woman holds her wine glass over a backyard fence in a gesture that simultaneously juxtaposes neighborliness with isolation.

In the second gallery, Nan Goldin’s French Chris on the convertible, NYC, 1979, presents a figure lost in his own swoon, suggesting an ecstatic kind of solitude. Also on view are images that alternately highlight the physical and emotional space between subjects. In Richard Misrach’s Boy Scouts, Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, Nevada, 1991, children stand in waist-deep water, dispersed in an arrangement that suggests the complexity of adolescent friendships. In an airport photograph by Garry Winogrand a man greets a woman while holding a sign that reads “Welcome to California Jane.” The pair’s subtle gestures suggest shy anticipation, while the space between them presents more questions than it answers.

Christian Marclay’s seminal 1995 video Telephones is the gravitational force in the final room of the exhibition. This skillfully edited arrangement of clips from movies shows people using telephones the way they were originally intended to be used: dialing, ringing, greeting, and listening. The carefully sequenced fragments coalesce into a conversation between speakers who never seem to connect. In the same room, Johnnie Chatman’s series I Forgot Where We Were… depicts the artist alone in the grand vistas of the West. Set in the romantic and expansive American landscape, Chatman’s silhouette presents a stark image of individuality and isolation.

This unprecedented time of social distance has upended many of the usual ways we find connection while underscoring that which we truly value. The intention of this exhibition is to bring us together and to acknowledge our connectedness in a world that can sometimes feel broken apart.

Alec Soth. Facebook. Menlo Park, California — ALEC SOTH, Facebook. Menlo Park, California, 2013