23 June-23 July
City Assembly House
Irish Georgian Society,
58 William St, D02 X751
Wind Up! is a lifetime retrospective of acclaimed photographer Susan Wood’s seven decades of work shooting actors, artists, authors, musicians, models, politicians, designers, culinary luminaries, and other famous faces.
Projected as a five-channel slide show with an ambient soundtrack interspersed with Susan’s narration about her life, her subjects, and her creative practice, the exhibition presents her work as a free-flowing immersive experience covering five walls of the Irish Georgian Society’s octagonal exhibition room at the City Assembly House in Dublin.
Gathered from Susan’s extensive archive from a career starting in the 1950s, the mix of hundreds of both published and never-before-seen images taken from a versatile life behind the camera lens celebrates her pursuit of beauty in the people, places, and objects she photographs. The projection format allows for the showing of many more works than would be possible in a traditional gallery setting. The chance order in which the photographs are shown enables the viewer to explore context, meaning, and eccentricity through the relationship of one image to another.
“The walls become like moving book spreads,” said Anthony Catania who organised the show. “The novelty is that on each subsequent visit, viewers will see the images combined in different ways, offering a fresh way of observing the work.”
Susan Wood’s photographs were made during years of great social change, and her own career followed a similar trajectory. A born and bred New Yorker, she was involved with the original “Mad Men” of Madison Avenue and later won a Clio, the most sought-after award in advertising. In 1954 her photographs appeared in the premier issue of Sports Illustrated. Mademoiselle chose her as one of their “Ten Young Women of the Year” in 1961. Throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, her photographs could be seen in Vogue, Life, People and New York magazines. She was a regular contributor to Look magazine, most notably for a 1969 cover story on John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Wood is also noted for her movie stills. Under contract to Paramount Pictures, United Artists and 20th Century Fox, she was on set during the filming of movies that defined the 1960s such as Easy RiderandHatari.
Involved in the fight for women’s rights and equality in the 1960s and ‘70s, Wood was a founding member of the Women’s Forum, and counted as friends many of the vanguard of the feminist movement including Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. Writes Wood, now 84, in the book’s introduction, “I’m a working woman from an age when women still wondered if we could and/or should work. I remember a woman scientist’s graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College in 1953 recommending we graduates keep some part of our brain actively engaged in an intellectual project even if we visited it only occasionally. ‘Picking up knitting’ was her analogy. Can you imagine the cat calls and boos someone today would get in response?”