42 St-Bryant Park (B/D/F/M)

The Great Escape

Karine Laval
Karine Laval photographs
"The Great Escape" (2021) by Karine Laval at 42 St-Bryant Park station. Photo: MTA Arts & Design.

About the Project

"The Great Escape," Karine Laval's photography exhibition installed at the 42 St-Bryant Park station, is a tribute to the natural world and brings the artist's quiet garden moments into the subway station below blooming Bryant Park.

In the Spring of 2020 during the COVID-19 quarantine, Laval found refuge in her Brooklyn backyard. As she grew more attentive to her own small garden, meditating on the details became a cathartic process. Doing most of her experimentation in the camera, she created new images using sheets of mirrored glass to form layered reflections, merging fantasy with reality. In her colorscapes, Laval plays with nature’s patterns, colors, and light to create alternate realities and a new way of seeing urban nature. Laval first printed these lush images on her home printer and displayed them on the fence of her backyard, exposed to the natural elements. Then, as a way to bring community together, she invited people to view the work hanging among the plants. The same images of beauty found and created during an unforgettable moment in time were enlarged and set within the subway station, surrounded by all of the renewed energy of a reopened, reactivated New York City.

The exhibition was generously sponsored by Griffin Editions and Kodak Professional.

About the Artist

Karine Laval is a French-born, New York-based photographer whose work often challenges the familiar perception of the world, bridging between the world we live in and a more surreal and dreamlike dimension. Her work has been featured in international publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, The New Yorker, and many others. Her photographs have been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and photo festivals throughout the United States, and internationally at venues such as the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (USA), and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (France).