More real than the real thing

When Hiroshi Sugimoto decided to photograph wax likenesses of English monarchs, he draped velvety black cloth behind his figures and used a nine-minute exposure. The resulting images, a suite of them on view now at the Getty, are strikingly detailed. Stoic Queen Victoria is so convincingly queenly that you forget you're looking at a replica of an image. It evokes British writer Hilary Mantel's description of seeing Queen Elizabeth up close, looking at Her Majesty like a thing, a figurehead not a person. Then, when the queen turned, and looked back, "as if she had been jabbed in the shoulder," Mantel was jarred and wanted to explain: "it's nothing personal, it's monarchy I'm staring at." 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; through June 8. (310) 440-7300,
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 4. Continues through June 8, 2014 (Expired: 06/07/14)

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