Gregory Crewdson’s Graveyard of Italian Cinema

Gregory Crewdson is world renowned for his elaborately staged color photographs — shot with Hollywood actors and large crews — that psychologically reference the movies of such iconic filmmakers as David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stephen Spielberg. However, his latest series of photographic prints, Sanctuary, which was shot the back lots of Rome’s famous Cinecittà film studios, takes a strikingly different point of departure, offering artificial, cinematic realms — devoid of any human presence — in a state of melancholic ruin.

Documenting decaying sets — overgrown with weeds and supported by scaffolding — in a somber range of grays, Crewdson shakes the spirits of Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, and Michelangelo Antonioni (all of whom worked here) from the rambling old studio’s rickety, false facades.

Presented in a beautifully printed monograph, published by Abrams, that features a poetic essay, amusingly titled “When in Rome,” by the celebrated film critic A.O. Scott, and currently on exhibit at London’s  White Cube through January 8, Sanctuary reveals a dreamlike realm, which was never meant to be real.

Click through below for a gallery of images and videos of the making of the work.


Sanctuary, Plate 8. Photographs by Gregory Crewdson; Essay by A.O. Scott. Published by Abrams. All images © Gregory Crewdson