A Polite Fiction

  • 2014
  • Taryn Simon
  • 2 Parts with wall text (French and English) - Part 1 (Interventions) and part 2 (removed Objects) texts, archival photographic works, objects
  • Variable dimensions
Since the 2000s, Taryn Simon has been conceiving works that interrogate social and cultural phenomena through a critical strategy of contemporary images.
A Polite Fiction (2014), an anthropological commission, chronicles the construction of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry, through the people who worked on the building. Starting in 2013, Simon interviewed workers and gathered objects that held the invisible traces of the work and the variety of personal stories involved in this exceptional venture. The installation, designed by the artist, comprises objects housed in display cases, accompanied by photos of them as well as texts. It also includes photos of specific locations around the building where the marks of the different interventions have been covered by the museum's polished surfaces.

© Taryn Simon. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage © Taryn Simon. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage © Taryn Simon. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon graduated from Brown University in 1997. Her work questions the role of the image, how it is categorised and its power, in the form of photographs, video and writing. Archives and memory and their context form the subjects of works that have an anthropological quality. Part conceptual art, part political statement, she creates visual inventories of our society.

Her interest in collections and indexes has led her to create series of photographs that reveal what is often hidden, such as An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) and Contraband (2010). Her investigations often take the form of series. Between 2008 and 2011, for A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, she collected information and photographs on family trees from around the world, which were then related to political, cultural and social events.

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