The Taryn Simon show at the Tate Modern was also great. But after seeing Photography: New Documentary Forms plus another documentary photography show (entitled Burke + Norfolk: Photographs From The War In Afghanistan), A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters was hard to digest.
All of the exhibits up at the Tate were pretty heavy and definitely caused some introspection. These 3 shows, seen all in one afternoon, left my friend and I feeling completely mentally drained. After we finished going through the Simon exhibit, we sat out by the Thames and contemplated the world and it’s fuckedupedness. It is a pretty crazy place where we live and reading through Simon’s texts about these different families, from all over the world, is certainly proof of this. My life is relatively easy compared to the struggle most humans must endure to get by on this planet and I am thankful that I have it so easy. After seeing a show like Simon’s I am reminded that I should not complain about anything and I should be MORE thankful for all that I do have. I would love to see this exhibit again.
From the Tate website:
Tate Modern premieres an important new body of work by the American artist Taryn Simon. A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters was produced over a four-year period (2008-11), during which Simon travelled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories. In each of the eighteen ‘chapters’ that make up the work, the external forces of territory, power, circumstance or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance. The subjects documented by Simon include feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia, the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, and the living dead in India. Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate.
Guardian interview with Taryn here.
Wallpaper write up and slideshow here.