SheLise Sarfati(Twin Palms, 2012 )
“I am interested in marginality, in immaturity, in naïveté, in illusion, in fictions, in transitions, in the fact that at a certain moment in life there is no limit. I would like my photography to pose a question rather than make a precise statement.” – Lise Sarfati
She is French photographer Lise Sarfati’s evocative portrait of an intangible intimacy between four American women of the same family—a four year meditation on the evolving and intertwined character of family, destiny and the desire to control one’s identity. Four women, bound by blood and the complex web of similarities and differences that both unite and alienate them—this is the ‘She’ that Sarfati describes as “a woman with four heads.”
The four characters of She, two sisters (Sloane and Sasha), their mother (Christine) and her sister (Gina), rarely offer Sarfati their gaze. Physically unconnected, they always appear alone in their environment, suspended in a trance of solitude and alienation; a melancholic tragedy seems to occupy these women’s lives. The locations (of small-town America) are not the heroines’ personal spaces, but are chosen by the artist to substitute as banal suburban idylls, a contrived fictional ‘home’, dislocating the characters from their domestic surrounding.
Sarfati’s discreet choreography and her decision to forfeit explicit narrative further emphasize the alienation and awkward tension that inhabit this work. It’s in the layered, suggestive marriage of fact and fiction that gives She its compelling and elusive beauty. As Quentin Bajac notes in the book’s foreword, ”She gives us embryos of fiction that never come to term; suggestions – more than propositions – that seem to develop in-between the images rather than within each image.”