Tuesday 7 June 2011

Taryn Simon

Yet another fantastic multimedia production from Tate Shots, this piece on American photographer Taryn Simon (see Susan Bright's article in #10 of 1000 Words) focuses on her new exhibition at Tate Modern ‘A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters’. Simon mixes photography and text in a series works that chart family bloodlines. At the heart of each group of photographic portraits, carefully arranged as 18 horizontal family trees, is a compelling story. One set documents the relatives of an Iraqi man who was a body double for Saddam Hussein’s son; another show members of a religious sect in Lebanon who believe in reincarnation; while the exhibition title comes from a work about a living Indian man who was declared dead in official records. From feuding families in Brazil to victims of genocide in Bosnia, Simon forms a collection that maps the relationships between chance, blood and other components of fate.

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living." Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)