Robert Longo

From 4 September 2024

Robert Longo is known for his monumental photorealistic images: powerful, dynamic charcoal drawings whose virtuoso technique and visually impactful subject matter leave viewers spellbound. He models such works on photographs that apprehend dramatic situations at their climaxes.

The artist’s concern here is to shed light on power—in nature, in politics, and in history. Longo makes use of images already published thousands of times that have become part of our popular culture, often even part of our collective memory. He isolates and reduces his selected motifs with an eye to heightening their visual impact.

Thanks to his employment of magnification as well as greatly intensified light/dark contrasts, it is gigantic, heretofore unseen images of a theatrical quality that ultimately confront us.

Robert Longo resorts to existing images and hence second-hand realities, creating monumental “copies” of original black-and-white photographs whose transformation into gigantic charcoal drawings causes one to forget the originals.

The dramatic light and shadow effects in these drawings emphasize spatial depth as well as objects’ plasticity. His motifs thus seem equally real and unreal, with the deep blackness of the charcoal rubbed into the paper swallowing any and all light.

On view from 4 September 2024 until 2 February 2025 at the ALBERTINA museum in Vienna.

Image Gallery – 3 Images
Robert Longo | Untitled (Face), 2001 | Weishaupt Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024 | Photo: Robert Longo
Robert Longo | Untitled (Face), 2001 | Weishaupt Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024 | Photo: Robert Longo


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