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Song of Sentient Beings #1612

Accession Number
1999/1.102

Title
Song of Sentient Beings #1612

Artist(s)
Bill Jacobson

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1995

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

Dimensions
36 in x 28 in (91.4 cm x 71.1 cm);36 in x 28 in (91.4 cm x 71.1 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund

Label copy
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.

Primary Object Classification
Photograph

Collection Area
Photography

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Figures
abstraction
bending
blur
human figures (visual works)
nudes
nudes (representations)

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& Author Notes

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