Lise Sarfati (born 1958) is a French photographer. Her images of cities in Russia and young people in the United States paint a sometimes despondent picture inspired by her own imagination.
Life and work
Born in Oran, French Algeria, Sarfati grew up in Nice, France, graduating in Russian from the Sorbonne in 1979 with a thesis on Russian photography. In 1986, she became the official photographer for the Académie des Beaux Arts. From 1989 to 1998, she lived in Russia, photographing decaying industrial sites and abandoned young people[clarification needed] in Moscow, Norilsk and Vorkuta. Her first book, Acta Est, presents 43 of her Russian photographs and explains her imaginative appreciation of deterioration, change and beauty.
In 2003, she photographed solitary young adults in the United States as she travelled through Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oregon, and California. They all appear to lack enthusiasm for action. The works were first presented as The New Life at New York's Yossi Milo Gallery in 2005 and were published as The New Life/La Vie Nouvelle.
Other American projects have included Austin, Texas (2008) and On Hollywood (2010), the latter made with her last rolls of Kodachrome 64 and presented at Yossi Milo in 2012. Miranda Siegel of New York magazine described Sarfati's depictions in this exhibition: "Never demeaning or pathetic, these portraits show resilience and a willingness to give up everything to chase a dream."
Writing in The Observer, Sean O'Hagan states that "Sarfati's photographs, though deceptively simple on first viewing, have a mysterious quality that is to do, in part, with her deft merging of portraiture, snapshot and arranged tableau."
- Acta Est. Phaidon, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7148-4842-6. With Olga Medvedkova.
- The New Life. Santa Fe: Twin Palms, 2005. ISBN 978-1-931885-45-4.
- Fashion Magazine: Lise Sarfati: Austin, Texas. New York: Magnum, 2008. ISBN 978-2-952410-22-9. With Quentin Bajac.
- She. Santa Fe: Twin Palms, 2012. ISBN 978-1-936611-00-3.
- FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam.
- Centre National de la Photographie, Paris.
- Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris.
- Rencontres d'Arles festival.
- La Maison Rouge, Paris.
- Domus Artium, Salamanca.
- The Nicolaj Center of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen.
Sarfati's work is held in the following public collections:
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
- Brooklyn Museum of Art.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
- Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, Paris.
- "Lise Sarfati", Centre Pompidou. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Lise Sarfati: Women in Photography". Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Lise Sarfati: The New Life", Yossi Milo Gallery. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Lise Sarfati: On Hollywood", Yossi Milo Gallery.
- Siegel, Miranda (September 10, 2012). "Art: After the Auditions Stop". New York magazine: 105.
- Sean O'Hagan, "Lise Sarfati – review", The Observer, 3 February 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Lise Sarfati: She - in pictures", The Observer. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Official website
- Lise Sarfati's She: images from The Observer
- Sarfati interviewed about her She exhibition by Sean O'Hagan (video)