January 22 - February 22, 2003
The Valley is a series of color photographs that were taken on the sets of porn film sets in the San Fernando Valley, California, where Larry Sultan grew up. Throughout the days of filming, there is a sexualized zone in which the gestures, rituals and scenes of suburban domestic life take on a peculiar weight and density. The roll of paper towels on the living room table, the bed linens in a pile by the door, the shoes under the bed all lose their mundane character and are transformed into props. Even the piece of half-eaten pie on the kitchen counter seems suspicious. Lazy afternoons are interrupted not by noisy children but by the uncontrollable desires of delivery boys, babysitters, coeds and cops. They crowd in the master bedrooms and spill out onto the kitchen floors, patios, and swimming pools. By photographing these scenes, Sultan plants himself in the terrain of his own ambivalence-that rich and fertile field that stretches out between fascination and repulsion, desire and loss.