THE HILTON BROTHERS
[Christopher Makos + Paul Solberg]
The Hilton Brothers, as an artistic identity, comes out of a series of collaborations Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg began while traveling some seven years ago. Finding that they were both drawn to similar subject matter when they were out in a foreign, beautiful location, they began to shoot the same subjects, almost as a joke. Back in the studio, looking at the printed results it was fascinating for them to see where their sensibilities merged and diverged. The idea of identity, who took which picture, and why was the difference discernable led them to begin a series of diptychs, where they would photograph separate objects and bring them together in one print: one plus one equals a third new artwork. So it seemed with their artistic identities, a blurring of individual egos to proceed to explore other collaborative projects. Makos and Solberg began calling their collective works, and themselves the Hilton Brothers.
CREATING ANDY DANDY
The Hilton Brothers latest collaboration, ANDY DANDY, is a portfolio of 20 digital pigment prints. All are diptychs that combine images from Makos "Altered Image" portraits of Andy Warhol with flower images from Solberg's "Bloom" series.
The images of Andy Warhol in "Andy Dandy" are the result of a 1981 collaboration between Makos and Warhol called "Altered Image", through which the photographer and his subject used unexpected combinations of simple elements to explore Identity, as did Man Ray (Makos' mentor) and Duchamp decades earlier. Warhol slightly altered his appearance with make-up and a wig, otherwise remaining in his street clothes. It was all the outward change Warhol felt he needed. Andy said, "I'm not trying to look beautiful like Elizabeth Taylor, I'm trying to show what it feels like to be beautiful like Elizabeth Taylor."
Solberg undertook his study of flowers as an exercise in using light to reveal the elemental purity of a subject otherwise encumbered by overexposure and banality, resulting in sensitive portraits rather than still life images. Like the "Altered Image" photos, many of Solberg's flowers are isolated subjects against a white background. This common white ground in the ANDY DANDY diptychs brings the disparate images into balance. ANDY DANDY considers the rich association between Andy Warhol and flowers by creating a beautiful and intriguing dialogue between Makos' and Solberg's work.
Andy wasn't the kind of dandy to wear a flower in his lapel, but as ANDY DANDY demonstrates, sometimes by just altering the image of one's work or oneself, a new beauty blooms.
Peter Wise NYC APRIL 2, 2008