Now playing: Juliane Eirich’s jewel-toned “Cinema Paris”
Coming soon to an art collection near you … our new limited-edition release from photographer Juliane Eirich: Cinema Paris. It’s been years since we’ve featured new work from Eirich, and that’s a wrong we’re thrilled to right. Her crisp, haunting color images of human-less locales are quietly absorbing and strikingly expressive in their stillness. Plus, the release timing is pretty perfect. This print doubles as our nod to National Movie Month (October!) and the disappearing delight of movie theaters. Annnnd action!
Part of a French cultural center founded in Berlin in the 1950s. Cinema Paris has all the charming, decorative trappings of the classic picture house—neat rows of plush auditorium chairs, cascading velvet curtains, a grand, gilded stage, lit from below. Eirich, who was born in Germany, grew up near one such cinema herself and has always been drawn to the singular excitement of an evening at the movies. Cinema Paris seems to emphasize the immersive experience of such a space, it’s ability to envelop you and inspire awe. No matter what’s playing, there’s something reverent about being in a movie theater, admiring a majestic milieu, succumbing to silence and darkness, focussing on the film rolling in front of you. Theaters like Cinema Paris are temple-esque by intention, places of worship for film buffs, fans, and escapists alike. Eirich’s photograph leans into that vibe. The image is dominated by rich, regal jewel tones hinting at the holy, and golden, saintlike light streaming from the stage, a sliver of heavenly white canopy hovering overhead.
Shot straight-on, this resplendent stage is almost anthropomorphized. That quality points to Eirich’s profound appreciation for places, one that perhaps enables her to connect with physical spaces on a more intimate level. “One of the reasons I became a photographer is my love for places,” the artist writes. Photography gives her permission to be curious, the perfect excuse to be granted access to special sites or the privilege of solitary exploration. And once she’s captured a location with her lens, these places she loves so much take on a transportable life, eminently shareable and endlessly discoverable. At a time when visiting any recreational venue—cinemas or otherwise—feels a little like a long lost love, we’re all the more enchanted by Eirich’s Cinema Paris, its commanding sense of place and transportive visual alchemy.
Movie theaters across the country are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many are going out of business. Those of us lucky enough to have space to shelter and a tv to entertain us are gonna be watching movies from our couches for a while to come. It’s a sad situation for cinephiles, or really anyone with fond memories of catching a flick. Date nights, family time, sneaky double features—the magic of moviegoing is in the whole event of it, from Sno-Caps at the concession stand, to staking out a seat in the dim murmur before the curtain draws. You size up the hodgepodge of previews, you blindly plunge your hand into a paper bag of buttered popcorn, you cackle or cry or clutch your pearls. It just doesn’t hit like that at home. Sure, you can stream, but the romance of the big screen can’t be replicated in a living room. What can bring some of that special something chez vous? The scene-setting power of Cinema Paris.
With art for everyone,