A significant and extensive book on a major body of work by the American artist Taryn Simon, that was produced over a four-year period (2008-2011), during which Simon travelled the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories.
The series comprises 18 “chapters” that document individual bloodlines. The chapters are investigations of fate, blood, psychological inheritance and what the artist refers to as “a relentless persistence of birth and death, and an endless collection of stories in between.”
In each chapter the external forces of territory, power, circumstance, or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance. Her subjects feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia, the first woman to hijack an aircraft, and the living dead in India.
The images are placed in rows alongside one another in a chronological order to represent the bloodline. Some of the subjects were not able to attend the shoot because of military service, dengue fever, a conflicting event, and women not being able to be photographed for religious or cultural reasons. In these cases, Simon leaves the space blank to represent a “gap” in the bloodline. A text testifies Simon’s research about the bloodline she is documenting.
Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. This volume, now sold out, accompanied the exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (May 2011), Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (September 2011), and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (May-September 2012).