London Art Reviews

Magazine of art press and reviews from London

French artist Lise Sarfati at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery.

Sloane #07 Oakland, California, (2007), © Lise Sarfati, courtesy Brancolini Grimaldi

Lise Sarfati at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery.

David Franchi – Monday, 19th March 2012

The exhibition “She” of Lise Sarfati closes with a great success. The leading French photographer Lise Sarfati was on show at Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, Mayfair, London.

“She” is a series of photographs made between 2005 and 2009, features four American women- two sisters, Sloane and Sasha, their mother Christine and her sister Gina. The project has taken four years to be completed, but periods are mixed up, so in the end the individual images of these four women create a one complete story.

The two sisters are difficult to be recognised one to each other and there is a sense that their identity is fluid, almost indistinguishable, because they wear wigs or make up.

Lise Sarfati has photographed them separately in various settings from the interiors of Victorian houses to outside on the street, thus not only depicting people but also revealing aspects of the US urban outdoor and indoor environment.

In this Brancolini Grimaldi exhibition subjects of photographs are mainly young women which seems doing nothing and waiting for something. It is a stylistic trait of the Lise Sarfati body of work. The French artist likes to catch the often deadpan expressions. Therefore each photograph is filled with psychological intensity and often melancholia too. Pictures assume a character of banal, maybe nil, surely of silence – despite the urban setting – that seems to be the inspiration of Lise Sarfati.

Gina #24 Oakland, California, (2007), © Lise Sarfati, courtesy Brancolini Grimaldi

“She” is an exhibition developing the portraying style. Subjects depicted are always solitary people in the flat American province.

Lise Sarfati has said about this work: “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.”

It was an interesting exhibition that brought to London a great artist which has been exhibited in the main world museum.

Lise Sarfati was born in Algeria in 1958. She grew up in Nice (France) and started taking pictures when she was just 13 years old. She got an MA in Russian studies from the Sorbonne University. She has been the official photographer of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later moved to Russia to spend ten years there.

Lise Sarfati made many solo and group exhibitions in some of the most important galleries, including Bibiliotèque Nationale de France, BNF Paris; Triennale di Milano,  European Center for Contemporary Art Bruxelles, Belgium; Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin; Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bruxelles.

Works of Lise Sarfati can be found in important collections such as Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris and LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Lise Sarfati has been awarded and received grants, including in 1996 Prix Niepce, Paris, France and Infinity Award, International Center of Photography, New York, USA and Villa Médicis Hors les Murs, Paris, France. In 1995 FIACRE Ministère de la Culture, Paris, France and in 1994 Prime à la qualité « C’est moi, c’est Roger » Centre National du Cinéma, Paris, France.

From 3rd February until 17th March 2012

At Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, Mayfair, London.

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