For more than forty years, Sally Mann (born 1951) has been taking hauntingly beautiful experimental photographs that explore the essential themes of existence: memory, desire, mortality, family, and nature’s overwhelming indifference towards mankind. What gives unity to this vast corpus of portraits, still lifes, landscapes and miscellaneous studies is that it is the product of one place, the southern United States.
Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia. Many years ago she wrote about what it means to live in the South; drawing on a deep love for that area and a profound awareness of its complex historical heritage, she raised bold, thought-provoking questions – about history, identity, race and religion – that went beyond geographical and national boundaries.
This exhibition is the first major retrospective of the eminent artist’s work; it examines her relationship with her native region and how it has shaped her work. The retrospective is arranged in five parts and features many previously unknown or unpublished works. It is both an overview of four decades of the artist’s work and a thoughtful analysis of how the legacy of the South – at once, homeland and cemetery, refuge and battlefield – is reflected in her work as a powerful and disturbing force that continues to shape the identity and the reality of an entire country.
Curators : Sarah Greenough and Sarah Kennelall images © the gallery and the artist(s)