PHOTO: ‘Cinq étranges albums de famille’ at Le Bal
The idea of a family album unites the work of five very different artists in this poignant show from Paris’ newest photography venue. These are not your usual family albums: some of Emmet Gowin‘s black-and-white family photos appear staged, others more natural, and all are simultaneously intimate and somewhat voyeuristic. A contemporary of Gowin, Ralph Eugene Meatyard clearly staged his photos. His series ‘The family album of Lucybelle Crater’ looks like any other family album at a glance, but on closer inspection the subjects are all wearing creepy halloween masks. Sadie Benning’s film ‘Flat is beautiful’ also has her subjects in masks – of the crude papier maché variety this time. The masks, coupled with the quality of the film – filmed with Pixelvision, a very primitive camcorder marketed to kids, and Super 8 – put the film’s characters at a distance from the viewer, as though a fly on the wall of somebody else’s family dynamic. Argentinian photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti also investigates a family dynamic outside her own. Her series, ‘The adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams’, is the highlight of the show, with photos and video clips of two cousins whom Sanguinetti began photographing in 1999. What started as a game became a long-running creative project, with Sanguinetti documenting the adolescence and early adulthood of these two girls (the project is ongoing). The touching photos of childhood fantasies give way to more contemplative mood as the cousins grow up and one of them moves towards motherhood. From the documenting of other people’s lives to the deeply personal, Erik Kessels‘ film ‘My Sister’ is based on 2 minutes of Super 8 footage he found of himself and his sister playing ping pong in the garden. Kessels sister died 25 years ago in an accident. The film, which Kessels says is the “most personal work [he has] ever made” is a collaboration between Kessels, Marlene Dumas and Ryuichi Sakamoto, and deals with loss and enduring memory.
Until 17 Apr. Wed-Fri noon-8pm (10pm Thu), Sat 11am-8pm, Sun, 11am-7pm.
Le Bal, 6 impasse de la Défense, 18th. www.le-bal.fr