Sometimes dreams, like words on the tip of the tongue, are perched on the tip of memory…at once so vivid, now the weight of déjà vu. A similar encounter happens when experiencing a Gregory Crewdson photograph, he brings you blindfolded to scenes of floating fantasy, crime, and calm only to unveil them suspended in motion, as if it’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. Funny, we sat down talking about another sci-fi movie—Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was playing that evening in Great Barrington; Crewdson was psyched to see his favorite movie yet again. It was the mounds of mud in the living room that got him, carrying over in his own work where the uncanny clings to the air like kudzu and invades nondescript suburbias.

Suburbia, a place so American yet Italian at its earliest form—Is it any wonder the photographer found himself inspired at the root of his dreams? Traveling with an exhibition, Crewdson spent some time in Rome where he asked for a tour of Cinecittà. In the suburbs of Lazio, the renowned film studio built by Musolini and sanctified by Fellini just clicked with the photographer. The emptied out and overgrown film sets were all he needed to frame; the jumble of facades and follies telling their stories, no need to interject with his own surrealisms.

After over a year of planning and six weeks in production, Crewdson arrived at Sanctuary, a series of small-scale black and white photographs, neutral and natural. In all their silence, the images speak to our own economic downturn and the chance to re-inhabit dreams.

—Richard J. Goldstein

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