A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, I – XVIII
An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
Taryn Simon was born in 1975 in New York, where she lives and works. Her latest work, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, on view in 2011 at Tate Modern, London, and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, chronicles 18 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. Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. 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. In 2011, Simon’s work was also included in the 54th Venice Biennale. Her previous work includes Contraband (2010), an image archive of items detained or seized from passengers and mail entering the United States from abroad; An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), which reveals objects, sites, and spaces integral to America’s foundation, mythology, or daily functioning but inaccessible or unknown to a public audience; and The Innocents (2003), which documents cases of wrongful conviction in the United States, calling into question photography’s function as a credible witness and arbiter of justice.