Collectible, stackable, and inherently keep-able, a Polaroid is a fetish object. They’re in part a relic of the analog past, when party snaps and test shots were born through a five-minute period waiting and watching, dreamy ghost-versions of its subjects slowly appearing out of darkness, rather than the tap-tap urgency of the Instagram selfie. Warhol was never without his Polaroid SX-70; Robert Mapplethorpe, Walker Evans, and David Hockney all integrated the film into their practice. Since Polaroid discontinued manufacturing its most famous product in 2008, devotees have hunted, hoarded, and stockpiled the film.
Jeremy Kost logged time at an internet company in Washington D.C. before moving to New York in the early ’00s, where he started to make candid Polaroids of the downtown club culture landscape and the drag queens, go-go boys, and nocturnal revelers that populated it, contributing work to Purple, Candy Magazine, and Wonderland, and showing at the Andy Warhol Museum and Galerie Nuke in Paris (needless to say, he left the day job behind). His latest monograph, Fractured (Damiani), out now and designed in collaboration with former Calvin Klein creative director Sam Shahid, is a collection of Kost’s latest surreal, dreamlike multiple exposure Polaroid work of male nudes. An exclusive artist’s edition of 100 copies is also available, accompanied by a unique Polaroid, which the buyer can select upon purchase.
Kost began this project in 2011, shooting a model in the back alley of his Hell’s Kitchen apartment building. His ongoing practice, which has included silkscreen paintings and collage work, moved into multiple exposure after some one shot of film got stuck in the camera. It’s proved to be both an aesthetic and logistical experiment for Kost. “I never know what the colors are going to be like until the first frame is shot. Even then, you start to get these chemical errors where the chemicals don’t spread across the image,” Kost says. “The multiple exposure is almost like a collage collapsed into one frame. It’s all done in the Polaroid. There’s no digital, there’s no retouching, there’s no manipulation. It’s all one layer. As I’ve really been making them I realized that it’s almost James Turrell-ian, as they’re really investigations of light and space, as much as body and form. The physicality really comes from the Polaroid, the boy, and the light and space is something you perceive. “
The lush, multilayered, intimately erotic images, which pair the models with double images of themselves or with vegetation, mountains, cityscapes, or neon signage, delve further into Kost’s ongoing exploration of identity, the body, and façades, and act as a space to examine projections of fantasy and desire. Kost selected the title, Fractured, as an encapsulation of that. “It really made me think about these dreamlike states where you wake up, and you can’t quite put it back together. All of those feelings of desire, and lust, and longing, they never quite line up, they’re always a bit fractured. You can see parts of it, and nothing is really one coherent story,” he says.
JEREMY KOST WILL HOLD A SIGNING OF FRACTURED TONIGHT AT BOOKMARC IN L.A. FROM 6-8 PM, AND A SIGNING AT BOOKMARC IN NEW YORK TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21. A LIMITED EDITION SERIES OF PRINTS, ON VIEW AT THE CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTION STORE AT 654 MADISON AVENUE, ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW VIA PADDLE8. ALL PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT ACRIA, TO HELP THOSE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS