Diplodocus, Natural History Museum, London, 2007 is a regal example of the photographs included in Matthew Pillsbury’s new Aperture book City Stages. In this work the replica skeleton of a Diplodocus—one of the largest dinosaurs—presides over a great hall in London’s Natural History Museum. Donated to the museum by industrialist Andrew Carnegie and unveiled in 1905, it offers a quiet counterpoint to the flurry of human activity taking place around it, and is itself a broader meditation on the tension between stillness and activity that is at the heart of Pillsbury’s photographs. In this image the man-made replica of a majestic natural beast, housed within a structure built for monumentality and longevity, reminds viewers of our own transitory experiences—and the roles we play upon the “city stage.”
Matthew Pillsbury (born in Neuilly, France, 1973) received his BA in fine art from Yale University in 1995 and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2004. His work has been exhibited internationally and is widely held in private and museum collections, including the Sir Elton John Photography Collection, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum, all in New York; Musée du Louvre, Paris; and Tate Modern, London. In 2007, Pillsbury won the prestigious Fondation HSBC pour la Photographie award. His work is represented by Bonni Benrubi, New York; Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta; and Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver.