Lost Country - Marginal America
Born in the late 40's in TULSA (OKLAHOMA), LARRY CLARK begins photography in the early 60's by doing snapshots of his close friends, pictures of the beginning of the sexual and sensual liberation of teenagers his age.
He is very impressed by the photographic movement in documentary, initiated by W.E SMITH, LEE FRIEDLANDER, or DIANE ARBUS between the 40's and 70's, by WILLIAM KLEIN'S « NEW-YORK » (1956) and also « The Americans » of ROBERT FRANCK (1958) with an introduction by KEROUAL, also responsible for the ROLLING STONES cover from « EXILE on Main Street » 1971.
KEROUAL, BURROUGHS, GINSBERG and the people from The BEAT GENERATION'S writings have a big influence on him, especially their lifestyle "ON THE ROAD", the freedom, the vagaries, the non confirmity, multiple sexuality and its representation: LSD, Marijuana, Mescal, Cocaine. The other side of the American DREAM instilled relentlessly in the Hollywood industry throughout the world.
The "new american cinéma" is born with the underground of JONAS MEKAS, WARHOL, ANGER or JOHN WATERS and anti heroes are consacrated in movies with JOHN CASSAVETES and MIKE NICHOLS.
Independant films, indie films will open the way up to now.
Images about "teenage depression" have preceded and influenced LARRY CLARK in his work: Nicholas RAY'S rebel «Without a Cause» (1955) with JAMES DEAN, BENEDEK'S «The wild one» with BRANDO or ELIA KAZAN’S «Splendor in the grass» with WARREN BEATTY, who will all become Hollywood's sex symbol.
The 40's/60's youth was represented with lollipops teenage comedies such as: SURF, HAWAÏ, ELVIS until GEORGES LUCAS «American Graffiti» in 1973 (Flirts, ladies, muscle cars, drive-ins, gangs rivalries) Hollywood style west side stories.
Strange fact, TULSA, out of nowhere, is the location of such movies about youth as FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S «Outsiders» (1983), «Rusty James» (1984) with MATT DILLON, first movies with a more psychological and oniric side emerge to describe this pennyless and glamourless youth society.
LARRY CLARK publishes his firt icon book «TULSA» in 1971 and impresses his photographic influences: guns, nudity, seringes, and absolute non-look, before the Grunge, between the 50's-60's Beat Generation and the 70's punk.
In 1983 «TEENAGE LUST» at LUSTRUM press gathers his images from NEW-YORK‘S 42nd street (Giuliani's era) where the hot districts have fallen into drugs, prostitution, sex shops, cabarets...The "WILD SIDE" and vagaries of americas' celestial bums.
His work will influence many photographers like NAN GOLDIN «Balled of Sexual dependency» or more surprisingly star photographers like BRUCE WEBER, TERRY RICHARDSON with this nonchalant yet very controlled way, later misappropriated by fashion and marketing as he says himself.
Larry CLARK has been called a voyeur, mystificator, polymorpheus pervert, manipulator in one way, and on the other way his fan call him a visionary and an initiator of this new vision of american youth, hyperrealism of the stage hell, the hidden truth is a taboo of the 70's America straight out of VIETNAM war, Beat Generation and hippie revolution.
The photography industry as a propaganda of north american and ultra capitalism are a sore spot.
Homeless, shelterless, hopeless, without illusions, left to themselves, the tough love of the megapolis concrete jungle, the nemesis of america's vast lands hitchiked up and down.
LARRY CLARK, the insider: in 1995 he directs KIDS - first movie on the vagaries of the "lost génération" followed by BULLY (2001) and KEN PARK (2002).
This trilogy inspires with its style a new breed of directors: the great MARTIN SCORSESE or GUS VAN SANT (MALA NOCHE, GERRY, ELEPHANT) who will become his producer.
He depicts the lifestyle of those lost teenagers, their languages, their codes, their music, theirs immorals habits (pornography, drugs) in a tribal environment in a very in -your- face way and with an hyperrealism that bordelines fetichism: youth leading puritan america and hollywood show business, between PASOLINI'S «Ragazzi» FELLINI'S «Vitteloni», the new wave of french and the documentaries from those years.
Those movies are dark and desesperate about this lost youth, left to itself. Many of these movies are not being distributed, left for festivals and underground venues.
In 2003 Eric DAHAN directs a 56 mn documentaries with his associates, where he describe his immersion in marginal groups where the alcohol and drugs they use creates a black and white portrait of puritan America blindfolded by the trash, the sordid and the in your face realism of its youth.
In 2006 «WASSUP ROCKERS» where CLARK in his 50's confronts the L.A latinos skaters, gangs wars and south central ghettos, and riches (BEVERLY HILLS) police.
He comes back to a documentary style with an obvious passion for his "real actors". Teenage is the time when everything is possible: sexual deviation, alcohol, drugs, guns, the boders between savagery and civilityget blurry, before a reinsertion in the money loving society, which integrates or excludes at will.
In 2011 Paris' museum of Modern Art dedicate him a very sulfurous retrospective exhibition «KISS THE PAST HELLO» prohibited to minors, even though he wants to do photos and films for minors.
In 2012 «MARFA GIRL» is produced by one of his fans, the director ADAM SHERMAN.
Complex situation, disconnected family in MARFA‘S small world (Texas) at the Mexico's border, where desire and sexuality are the action's drive.
The movie will get the MARC AURELE prize in ROME festival. The french press will consider it one of the top 20 movies that year.
LARRY CLARK states that he's not looking for controversy, that he tries to be honest and tell the truth, that he comes from the Art world where nothing should be hidden, that he's not making movies for money, like Hollywood, and that he wouldn't be a director if he'd saw what he shot in other movies.
He puts his last movie on line for $5.99 so anybody can see it with today's tools.
"The future is now" LARRY CLARK cult, cursed, hated, marginalized or adorned.
Evil perverted voyeur or simply acute painter of teenage realities for the last 40 years in a puritan America not daring to speak out the diseases of its youth or to break its taboos!
With LARRY CLARK, the devil undresses in PRAVDA! (The truth)
Larry Clark with Adam Mediano and Mercedes Maxwell
©MARFA, LLC 2012
MARFA GIRL will get the MARC AURELE prize in ROME for the best movie.
Produced by Adam Sherman
Written and directed by Larry Clark
Line Producer Win Craft
Director of Photography David Newbert
Edited by Affonso Gonçalves
Original Music by Bobby Johnston
Larry Clark interview
Report & interview Sabine Morandini