Taryn Simon is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice can loosely be described as a sustained investigation into systems of classification. Tracing lines of connection between distinct, yet intertwined, taxonomic categories, Simon examines the way networked relationships are mediated and mobilised by the photographic medium.
Her major work, A living man declared dead and other chapters I – XVIII, is an episodic inventory of bloodlines and familial relations that span geographic and temporal boundaries. For each ‘chapter’ of this serial work, Simon mapped connections mediated by blood across subjects as diverse as feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia and the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday. Each of the 18 chapters that make up the full body of work are comprised of three distinct yet integral components; a series of photographic portraits, a series of photographs that pertain to evidence accrued to tell these narratives and a segment of text.
The lines of association that link each protagonist in these narratives are often charged – or encrypted – with the residual presence of violence, corruption, political turmoil and inherited psychological trauma yet also bespeak powerful tales of resilience and survival.
In Chapter VI from this body of work, Simon situates her rigorous research methodology within an Australian context, investigating the exponential proliferation of the European rabbit population that was introduced in 1859 for hunting purposes. This bloodline – one that went on to compromise the ecology of natural fauna and flora – charts the hyperbolic swing that occurs when introduced species are brought into an environment in which they have no natural predators. Yet, while the work speaks to growth and the evolution of a family tree, it also speaks to the disturbing history of extermination tactics in which humans have (once again) intruded upon biological processes. Like Frankenstein’s monster, the rabbits in Simon’s work are the product of the human hand yet are also its victims.
inkjet prints and text, framed
AP from edition of 4 +3APs
213.4 x 829.6 cm overall
Signature & date
Signed l.l. Certificate of authenticity, blue ink "Taryn Simon". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program and the Mollie and Jim Gowing Bequest 2017
Not on display
© Taryn Simon