Pictura Gallery

Pelle Cass

About an Hour

Dates + Events

Virtual Gallery Walk Opening Reception | Pelle Cass

Friday, February 4 | 5:00pm - 8:00pm

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February Pictura Kids: Photo Collage

Saturday, February 5 | 11:00am - 12:00pm

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Gallery Walk | Pelle Cass

Friday, March 4 | 5:00pm - 8:00pm

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April Pictura Kids: Vanishing Points

Saturday, April 2 | 10:00am - 11:00am

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Pictura is pleased to present the work of Pelle Cass February 4, 2022 through March 26, 2022. Cass carefully constructs images that compress the action of one hour into a single photograph. Groups of softball players, divers and dancers are suspended in mid air as they cross over one another in space and time.

Photography and Time make good bedfellows, and photographers have long explored the means to marry them. To record the passage of an hour in a single frame is particularly ambitious. When Hiroshi Sugimoto sought to record an entire movie onto one negative in his Theaters, a few hours of projected light became a completely white screen. In About an Hour, Pelle Cass presents the same amount of time in astonishingly legible narrative scenes.

Dartmouth Softball
displays bats gripped in the athletes’ hands at the plate, bats flying to the ground, multiple pitchers, runners on first, runners coming home… all in the same frame. For a sport that usually unfolds at a measured pace, this compression of time is exciting. The entire story of the game is offered in one frame. Cass playfully disrupts the photographic fixation of capturing a single decisive moment by packing his images full of as many as possible.

Cass’s images spark a specific type of delight; a cheekiness that comes from observing ourselves from an outside perspective. Like kittens, we humans run in circles and chase balls. There is a spellbinding moment on a plane right before rising above the clouds, when you can look back down at our habitat as if it were a dollhouse. Our ways begin to resemble those of little ants or worker bees, carving our habits and behaviors into diagrams on the landscape. Zoomed out, we gain a new perspective on the patterns we create. Cass widens the view in a similar way, charting our forms with the compression of time.

This show presents some of my recent work depicting sports and fashion. One thing that ties the pictures together is the technique I use. Each image is a kind of a still time-lapse photo that compresses a couple of hours and thousands of exposures of an event into a single image.

To make the work, I put my camera on a tripod, take thousands of pictures, and compile the selected figures into a final photograph that is kind of a still time-lapse. I change nothing—not a pixel. I simply select what to keep and what to omit and everything stays in its exact, original place in the frame. I believe the images are truthful documents of an hour or two and though they seem to contradict reality at first glance, I believe they contain more information than a conventional still photograph and better convey experience.

The sports pictures are from two series, Crowded Fields and Uncrowded fields. Crowded Fields presents images of college sports around Boston. It reshuffles time and presents whole games out of sequence. Uncrowded Fields is a reworking of my sports pictures. In the 2020 lockdown, I began to return to completed pictures and remove most of the humans while adding as many moving inanimate objects--usually balls--as I could.

The pictures are meant as a celebration of the subject matter at hand. But I also hope to convey a sense of play and a feeling of Dionysian chaos. Meanwhile, the pictures, more than anything else, are about the eeriness of time, and my work could be said, truly, to be about an hour.

Pelle Cass (1954) is a photographer from Brookline, Massachusetts. He’s exhibited at the George Eastman House, the Albright Knox Gallery, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Metamorf Biennial for Art and Technology in Norway and has presented shows at Stux Gallery (Boston), Gallery Kayafas (Boston), and the Houston Center for Photography. His work is owned by the Fogg Art Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Polaroid Collection, the DeCordova Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the MFA, Houston. Cass’s photos have appeared in books such as Photoviz (Gestalten), Deleueze and the City (Edinburgh University Press), Langord’s Basic Photography (Focal Press), The Beautiful Sparkle: Optical Illusions in Art (Prestel, forthcoming), and in magazines such as Beaux Arts (France), McSweeney’s, FOAM, Amica (Italy), MAPS (Korea), Boston Art Review, and Victory Journal. He’s received fellowships from Yaddo, Artists Resource Trust, and the Polaroid Collection.


Exhibition Archives