Wednesday, 7 April 2010
First UK solo show for Sally Mann at The Photographers´ Gallery
© Sally Mann
Sally Mann, The Family and the Land
The Photographers´ Gallery
18 June – 19 September 2010
This exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery will be the American photographer Sally Mann’s first solo exhibition in the UK. Combining several series from her long photographic career, The Family and the Land: Sally Mann will reflect Mann’s artistic impulse to draw on the world around her as subject matter.
The ‘family’ element of the title will comprise Mann’s early series Immediate Family and the newer series Faces, both of which depict her children at various ages. The two series Motherland: Virginia and Deep South represent the landscape, portraying images made across the south of the United States. The more recent body of work, What Remains brings together both strands of the exhibition, through its examination of how bodies, as they decompose, merge into the land itself.
Sally Mann (b.1951, USA) first gained prominence for Immediate Family (1984–94) a series of intimate and revealing portraits of her three young children, Emmet, Jesse and Virginia. Taken over a ten-year period, Mann depicts them playing, swimming and acting to the camera in and around their homestead in Lexington, Virginia. Born out of a collaborative process between mother and child, the work encapsulates their childhood in all its rawness and innocence.
Mann followed Immediate Family by focusing on the land itself in her series Motherland: Virginia (1993–94) and Deep South (1996–98). Here she is drawn to locations steeped in historical significance from the American Civil War, which left both literal and metaphoric scars on the trees and the land itself. Using antique cameras and processes throughout, Mann accentuates the sense of age in the subject while embracing the imperfect effects created by her printing process.
The most recent series in the exhibition, What Remains (2000–04) seeks to further connect human contact to the land and how the body eventually returns to and becomes a part of the land itself. This concept led Mann to photograph decomposing cadavers at the University of Tennesse Anthropological Research Facility, Knoxville, where human decomposition is studied in a variety of, mainly outdoor, settings. What Remains deals directly with the subject of death, still a social taboo. As with her other work, Mann’s subjects are sensitively handled and beautifully realised, encouraging us to reflect upon our own mortality and place within nature’s order.
The Family and the Land: Sally Mann at The Photographers’ Gallery is an edited version of a touring exhibition, conceived by Sally Mann in collaboration with Hasse Persson, Director, Borås Museum of Modern Art, Sweden. It has been presented at Fotomuseum Den Hague and the Musée de l‘Elysée, Lausanne as well as in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Helsingborg, and Copenhagen.