First exhibited on the occasion of the 2011 Venice Biennale, Somoroff’s project, Absence of Subject, began as a way to reconsider August Sander’s life work People of the 20th Century, a typology of the human race beginning in 1911. Benefiting initially from the enthusiastic support of Anne Wilkes Tucker, he carefully selected 40 of Sander’s images and began his exploration by excavating the subjects from each. Beginning in 2000, it took Somoroff seven months to complete the first image and seven years to finish. He has also created videos in which he surprises the viewer with tiny increments of inexplicable movements which are utterly absorbing, potent dramas of time and space. Somoroff reveals the fragility of mortality. Absence of Subject is an exercise in appropriation, but more astonishingly it stands as a document that reflects the development of art in the 20th century. The New Yorker magazine called it “an unconventional homage.”


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