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Song of Sentient Beings #1612

Bill Jacobson

Artwork Details

Song of Sentient Beings #1612
Bill Jacobson
gelatin silver print on paper
36 in x 28 in (91.4 cm x 71.1 cm);36 in x 28 in (91.4 cm x 71.1 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund

On Display

Not currently on display


March 28, 2009
Bill Jacobson describes his purpose in making his experimental soft-focus photographs as “an ongoing meditation around desire, loss, and the role of photography as a vehicle for remembrance.” Through his ambiguous figures, which seem to simultaneously suggest both emergence and dissolution, Jacobson directly addresses the way photographs can so poignantly preserve a moment from the past even as they document that moment’s passing. In doing so he makes photography into a meditation on the essence of mortality. “Most photographs,” he explains, “are meant as documents of moments we wish to hold onto forever. My work suggests that these moments, like life itself, are constantly fading into the past.” While not specifically about the AIDS epidemic that struck the community of New York artists in the eighties and nineties, Jacobson’s photographs document a community and era ravaged by disease.

Subject Matter:

Bill Jacobson's large-scale photographic works address themes of mortality and loss in the aftermath of AIDS. Using the unfocused figure, Jacobson's work suggests both emergence and dissolution while also commenting on photography's ability to capture passing moments. Jacobson describes his work as "an ongoing meditation around desire, loss, and the role of photography as a vehicle for remembrance." 

Physical Description:

A blurred image of a nude figure bending forward, the arms nearly reaching the ground.

Usage Rights:

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