Lise Sarfati in La Lettre

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Emily, 2860 Sunset Blvd, 2010 © Lise Sarfati, Courtesy Lise Sarfati, ROSEGALLERY, los angeles

Rosegallery, Los Angeles is presenting back to back exhibitions of On Hollywood and She, confirming Lise Sarfati's talent and status among the small circle of French artists who have succesfully exported their work.

Lise Sarfati arrives in New York in 2003. She leaves for New Orleans to start her series The New Life (Twin Palms, Publisher 2005). She travels through several small towns in Texas, Arizona, California and Oregon. She returns to Los Angeles in 2009 and 2010 to photograph the women she crossed paths with on Hollywood's boulevards.

While She is an intimate and complex game of mirrors between four women, two times two sisters, On Hollywood focuses on the landscape. The two series follow one another but are not alike. They are part of a puzzle Lise Sarfati is patiently, endlessly creating. The female characters share certain traits : they are both fragile and strong, they live on the fringe of society, they project themselves in a reality only they seem to have the key to. For On Hollywood the encounters took place using a precise approach. The women in this series are vulnerable but they are women who are struggling for their survival : dancers, junkies, actresses looking for a part, out-of-towners. Sarfati chose these women for their personalities, their auras, their marginal lifestyles. "They are real and it is their emotional dimension which attracted me to them." One has the feeling that these women float through life like ghosts. There is never a direct gaze into the lens. "The viewer is the only one watching and letting his or her eye wander on the surface of the image. This gives the image its own autonomy. The women are as essential as the landscape." She chooses her locations without a camera, only using her eye, returning numerous times to the same place because she feels comfortable there.

The simplicity of the boulevard amazes her.

For this series, Lise Sarfati used Kodachrome 64 film stock which was used in Hollywood movies of the 1940s. It is the last photographic series made with this stock which ceased being produced in June 2009. The last rolls were processed in December 2010.

This series refers as much to the films of David Lynch and Wim Wenders as to the photographs of William Eggleston (for the color) or Harry Callahan (especially his series of street portraits called : Women Lost in Thought). But Lise Sarfati has completely assimilated these influences. Her strong visual signature, linked to a feeling of interiority, is both modern and identifiable as her own. And the beauty and accuracy of her work make us follow her willingly.

In France, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) is preparing a retrospective of her work for 2014. A book on the series She is due in the spring or summer of 2012 (Twin Palms Publisher).

Christophe Lunn

On Hollywood : from February 25th to March 26th She : from March 31st to May 8th

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