Taryn Simon

all images from A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, 2008-2011

Right now I could give everything to see TARYN SIMON‘s monumental show at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie. For four years, SIMON traveled around the world, researching and recording eighteen bloodlines and their related stories.

The result is 817 portraits systematically arranged, including ’empty’ portraits representing living members of a bloodline who could not be photographed. The chapters include the story of an Indian man who discovered that he and members of his family had been listed as dead, an Iraqi man who was employed as SADDAM HUSSEIN’s son’s body double and test rabbits in Queensland, Australia which were first introduced there in 1859 for hunting purposes, but which the authorities are today struggling to keep under control.

Each work in ‘A Living Man Declared Dead’ is comprised of three segments. On the left of each chapter are one or more large portrait panels systematically ordering a number of individuals directly related by blood. The sequence of portraits is structured to include the living ascendants and descendants of a single individual. The portraits are followed by a central text panel in which the artist constructs narratives and collects details. On the right are Simon`s “footnote images” representing fragmented pieces of the established narratives and providing photographic evidence.

Born and brought up in New York, TARYN SIMON is a commited photographer who combines image and text. After having work published in the New York Times magazine and gaining a Guggenheim grant, she has produced the series The Innocents (2003) which features portraits of people convicted and sentenced for crimes they didn’t commit; An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), Contraband (2010) and A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters (2008-2011).

TARYN‘s last show is actually on view at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie until Sunday, January 1, 2012 and will be shown at New York’s MoMA in May 2012, don’t miss it! Additionally, this incredible body of work is presented in an extensive and beautiful tome published by Mack.

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