On the occasion of Paris Photo 2023, the Andorran Galeria Alta presents the exhibition by actress and photographer Jessica Lange : Highway 61 at the Andorran Embassy in Paris.
The exhibition, Highway 61 presents a tribute to the historic route which Lange has traveled countless times since her childhood in Northern Minnesota.
At the age of 18, Lange boarded a Greyhound Bus from her hometown of Cloquet, Minnesota, and headed south down Highway 61 on her way to Europe and beyond. The year was 1967, and the winds of change were in the air. A new America taking shape, as fellow Minnesotan Bob Dylan foresaw on his seminal 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited, the very first album Lange ever bought.
The historic interstate is a plumb line through Lange’s life – a marker of where she has been, who she was, and who she has become, as well as a testament to the changes that have shaped the United States over the past 70 years.
Highway 61 originates northeast of Minneapolis and runs 1.600 miles along the Mississippi River though the American Midwest and South, rolling through eight states, down to New Orleans.
Lange takes us along for a ride, creating a timeless portrait of America that evokes the work of Robert Frank. A quiet, careful observation of the human condition, Lange’s photographs reveal a sense of solidarity among the working class, recognizing that they built this country from the ground up.
She visits motels, roadside fruit stands, local bars, vintage diners, amusement parks, farms, private homes, markets, and sometimes just walks the streets as one of the people, rather than Hollywood royalty.
Her photography series reveals the thoughtful and powerful connection Lange continues to maintain towards the people and places in this part of America.
Lange has noted that “long stretches of 61 are empty, forlorn, as if in mourning for what has gone missing — the hometowns, the neighborhoods, family farms, factories and mills.”
Lange easily immerses herself in the milieu, people gladly posing for a photograph. Yet there is a melancholy that pervades the work, a quiet longing for connection that underscores the artist’s simple dedication at the beginning of the book. “For Sam,” Lange writes to her husband, Sam Shepard, who died in 2017. It’s a moment of devotion that finds its way into every image she makes, infusing her photographs with a powerful sense of love, hope, and faith.
“It’s a great counterpoint to filmmaking,” Lange has said about photography, “because it’s a private, solitary experience. It’s like writing or painting; it’s something you can do on your own. Acting is a co- dependent art form, and the actor is not in control. And filmmaking definitely informs the decision to photograph something. I’m drawn to situations with a dramatic feel to them as far as lighting or backdrop or people’s presence, the way someone stands.”
Born and raised in Cloquet, Minnesota, Jessica Lange studied photography at the University of Minnesota after winning a scholarship to study the arts.
Her photographs have been exhibited at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, 2009; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, 2014; Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, 2015; and Centro Cultural de Cascais Portugal, 2015, among others. She was the first recipient of the George Eastman House Honors Award in 2009.
Lange began making photographs in the 1990s when her partner of 26 years, the late playwright and actor Sam Shepard gave her a Leica camera as a gift. She dedicated her book Highway 61 to Shepard.
An Academy Award-winning actress, Lange is well known for her roles in King Kong, Tootsie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Frances, Blue Sky, and Grey Gardens.
She is the 13th actress in history to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, having won two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, one Screen Actors Guild Award and five Golden Globe Awards.
Jessica Lange : Highway 61
7 – 10 November 2023 10h30 – 18h 30
Andorran Embassy in Paris
1, Place d’Andorre, Paris 16th