Art: A living man declared dead


The Tate Modern, London and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin present an exhibition of the American artist Taryn Simon. It took her over four years to produce that new body of work ‘A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, I – XVIII’. For her project, she travelled around the world to research and record bloodlines and their stories. She then organised the whole in eighteen chapters, each of them representing a family, from victims of the bosnian genocide to the first woman who highjacked a plane, to the body-double of Saddam Hussein’s Son. She clicked portraits of all bloodline members, on a very neutral background, leaving an empty space for those who didn’t want to be photographed. Notes and comments accompany the faces.

The exhibition might first look overwelming but is totally worth a closer look, as it emphasizes the importance of the personal inheritance clashing with the social-political context these families live in. Take some time to read the notes, coming along with bizarre anectodes. You might then find out why Taryn Simon gave such an name to her project…

Taryn Simon, ‘A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, I – VXIII

Tate Modern, London / Until January, 2nd 2012 / Free & open every day

Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin / Until January, 1 2012 / open from Tuesday to Sunday