I like doubles, like mothers and daughters, or sisters or reflections.
This represents my research into women’s identity… I am interested in fixing that instability.”
Lise Sarfati – She
3 February – 17 March, 2012
Brancolini Grimaldi, London
Press release by Brancolini Grimaldi:
„Lise Sarfati’s series She, made between 2005 and 2009, features four American women– two sisters, Sloane and Sasha, their mother Christine and her sister Gina. Sarfati has photographed them separately in various settings from the interiors of Victorian houses to outside on the street. Sometimes wearing wigs or make up, it is hard to distinguish the pairs of sisters from each other and there is a sense that their identity is fluid, almost interchangeable. Their expressions are often inscrutable though each photograph is filled with psychological intensity and often melancholia too. The project took four years to complete, but time is compressed, years are mixed up so in the end, the individual images of these four women make up one story.
French-born Sarfati has worked and lived part of the time in the US since 2003, and She is her third series of photographs made there. Sarfati prefers to make her work in small towns where life is slower and she can get to know her subjects. She was shot in four different locations: Oakland, Berkeley; San Francisco; Los Angeles and Phonenix, Arizona. The American backdrop also provides a prosaic normality to the images and roots them in the everyday vernacular of small town life. This counterpoints the strangeness of the women as captured by Sarfati – Christine stares out wearing a bridal dress and veil, something she kept though she never married, her red lips and tattoos in defiant contrast to the traditional image of a bride. Gina walks empty handed out of a liquor store and in another image gazes into the distance while she smokes a cigarette. Why and for what purpose is never revealed, but the haunting strangeness of the images remain with the viewer.
Sarfati’s pictures, respectful and noninvasive, of these women and what they invisibly share are an imaginative meditation not only on who they are, but also on who we are – beyond what we look like and what we wear – what we bring to life and what we might expect of it.”
Sandra S. Phillips, Senior Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Lise Sarfati (b.1958) has produced six series of works in the US each followed by major exhibitions and publications. These include The New Life (2003), Austin, Texas (2008) She (2005 – 2009), Sloane (2009) and most recently On Hollywood (2010). Her work has been exhibited internationally at major galleries and public institutions including Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; Rose Gallery, Los Angeles; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris: Maison Rouge, Paris; FOAM, Amsterdam; Photographer’s Gallery, London and Nicolaj Center of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen.
A retrospective of Lise Sarfati’s work will be at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in 2014.
She, a monograph published by Twin Palms with a text by Quentin Bajac, will be released in Spring 2012.“