John Stezaker

January 7 - February 12, 2011

537 W 22nd Street

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of work by the London-based artist John Stezaker.

John Stezaker has been highly influential in the key artistic developments of the last three decades from Conceptual art and Appropriation to the re-emergence of collage. For his second solo show in New York, Stezaker will be showing a selection of silkscreens that were made between 1979 and 1992 and a selection of collages from his ‘Dark Star’ series from 1979 to 1983.

Both the silkscreens and the ‘Dark Star’ collages come from a period of time in which Stezaker was a frequent visitor to New York, and both bodies of work bear the imprint of the city. Stezaker’s encounter with New York and its culture in the late 70’s and early 80’s proved to be momentous and inspiring. It not only represented his first comprehensive encounter with American Modernism (especially Warhol and Newman) but was also his first encounter with his American counterparts in Appropriation (Goldstein, Prince, Longo, Kruger, and Levine).

In 1979 Stezaker described New York as ‘a city of voyeurs’ and his ‘Dark Star’ works are testimony to his observation. The absented (cut-out) figures of the ‘Dark Stars’ convert the object of spectacle - the star - into a voyeuristic shadow figure. The remaining photographic aura or spotlight, separated from its figure, cuts the image off from its function in portraiture to become an object of independent, autonomous fascination: they echo what Stezaker has described as ‘the dark aura of fascination.’ It was Stezaker’s contact with New York during this period that confirmed his desire to follow the image: to put aside conceptual ideas about the image, to yield to its pure fascination and to work within the horizons of the found image. Color appeared in his work for the first time, both in the small-scale collages and in the silkscreens, and in both, it was the color of the city at night – of neon and technicolor.


The silkscreens are the only period in his career in which he has worked primarily on a large scale and in color. By 1983-4, the disembodied heads of cinematic voyeurs and kissing couples were replaced by the multiple headless torsos on silkscreen prints, using images from nudist magazines and soft-porn ‘art studies.’ Following these, it was the baby heads and then the abstract spheres that went on to punctuate his multiple image silkscreens. But whatever the image that dominates each development of the silkscreens, there is a continual return to a dialogue with modernist painting and geometric abstraction, culminating in the final shaped monochrome canvases, shown here for the first time.

John Stezaker has had numerous solo exhibitions, most recently at The Approach, London; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln; and Capitain Petzel, Berlin. An overview of his work will be presented at the Whitchapel Gallery, London, in 2011, and will travel to Musée d’Art Moderne- Grand Duc Jean (Mudam), Luxembourg, and the Kemper Museum, Washington University St. Louis, St. Louis. His works are included in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Collection, London, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Ellipse Foundation, Cacais, and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. He lives and works in London.

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is located at 537 West 22nd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) New York, NY 10011. The gallery is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. For further information, please contact the gallery at info@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.




  • 1 / 33
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2011
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    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2011
  • 3 / 33
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2011
  • 4 / 33
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2011
  • 5 / 33
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2011
  • 6 / 33
    Untitled
    1978
    Silkscreen on linen
    27.17 x 39.37 inches
  • 7 / 33
    Untitled
    ca. 1980
    Silkscreen on linen
    42.13 x 120.08 inches
  • 8 / 33
    Untitled
    1982
    Acrylic/Videorot Trevira Television CS
    86.61 x 86.61 inches
  • 9 / 33
    Untitled
    1982
    Silkscreen on linen
    47.05 x 66.14 inches
  • 10 / 33
    Untitled
    1983
    Silkscreen on linen
    39.37 x 68.7 inches
  • 11 / 33
    Nest 1
    1986
    Silkscreen on linen
    39.37 x 68.7 inches
  • 12 / 33
    Station of the Cross
    1986
    Silkscreen on linen
    53.35 x 67.91 inches
  • 13 / 33
    Untitled
    1987
    Silkscreen on linen
    65.35 x 34.25 inches
  • 14 / 33
    Untitled
    1990
    Silkscreen on linen
    44.09 x 53.15 inches
  • 15 / 33
    Untitled
    1990
    Silkscreen on linen
    57.09 x 57.09 inches
  • 16 / 33
    Untitled
    1994
    Black canvas
    62 x 98 inches
  • 17 / 33
    Untitled
    1982
    Silkscreen on linen
    43.31 x 50.39 inches
  • 18 / 33
    Untitled
    1984
    Silkscreen on linen
    57.28 x 73.43 inches
  • 19 / 33
    Untitled
    1985
    Silkscreen on linen
    57.28 x 60.24 inches
  • 20 / 33
    Untitled
    1982
    Silkscreen on linen
    48 x 48 inches
  • 21 / 33
    Untitled
    1982
    Silkscreen on linen
    48 x 48 inches
  • 22 / 33
    Dark Star VI
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 23 / 33
    Dark Star VII
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inche
  • 24 / 33
    Dark Star VIII
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 25 / 33
    Dark Star IX
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 26 / 33
    Dark Star X
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 27 / 33
    Dark Star XI
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 28 / 33
    Dark Star XII
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 29 / 33
    Dark Star XIII
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 30 / 33
    Dark Star XIV
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 31 / 33
    Dark Star XV
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 32 / 33
    Dark Star XVI
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
  • 33 / 33
    Dark Star XVII
    1979 - 1983
    Collage
    20 7/8 x 16 3/8 inches
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This publication contains the following texts:
Forward by Janneke de Vries
"A Double or Contradictory Feeling: Collage as Humor" by Barry Schwabsky
John Stezaker in conversation with David Lillington and William Horner

Published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln

© 2009 Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln

ISBN 978-3865605337