Robin, #43, Oakland, CA
Adolescence has become ubiquitous subject matter in contemporary photography. Whether it is the awkwardness of Rineke Dijkstra’s gangly prepubescents or the sexuality, malaise, and dysfunction depicted by Larry Clark, the worlds of adolescents and teenagers seem to have been exhaustively described.
While Lise Sarfati continues to mine this rich vein of subject matter, she evokes a slightly different tone. In her first book of photographs, Acta Est, she documented the dark, emotional territory of wayward youth in post-Soviet Russia. Robin, #43, Oakland, CA is from her subsequent project, titled The American Series. Published in book form as The New Life, the series comprises images of young people from Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, and California. Directionless, dispossessed, and dejected, these young people (mainly young women) appear ghost-like and unattached to their surroundings. Sarfati’s subjects transcend their social, political, or cultural categories; as carriers of individual, as well as universal, psychological states, they represent the interstitial space between inertia and movement.
In Robin, #43, Oakland, CA, the young woman gazes into a backyard hidden from view. Framed by the intersecting lines of backyard fences bathed in a saturated cyan light, Robin may sit firmly on her home soil, but she is emotionally unmoored from it.
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Gift of Kenneth H. Schweber
© Lise Sarfati
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Lise Sarfati (French, born 1958). Robin, #43, Oakland, CA, 2003. Chromogenic photograph, Sheet: 16 x 21 in. (40.6 x 53.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Kenneth H. Schweber, 2006.64.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.64.2_PS2.jpg)
overall, 2006.64.2_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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