Eli Durst, The Four Pillars
Durst scrutinises aspirational American fantasies of happiness, self-improvement and individuality through a blend of documentary and fiction
Eli Durst's The Four Pillars explores fantasies of happiness, self-improvement and individuality, building from his collaborations over several years with a faith-based self-help group of the same name. In Durst’s inscrutable images, the lines between reality and fantasy, fact and fiction, are constantly blurred. Durst works with real people in staged scenarios, to deconstruct the markers of success, progress and identity within middle-class American society.
Durst's staged, inventive scenarios interrogate the relationship between the individual and the group, the norms we aspire to, and the social gravity that holds these two in alignment. Durst takes the details of these scenarios – mundane family portraits, team bonding exercises, pregnancy groups, school gyms, amateur theatre, county fairs – and amplifies their strangeness, through a lens that is at once factual, fictional, banal and absurd.