Lise Sarfati: “Molly #03” (2008)

Molly #03, 2008

58,5 x 43,7 cm
French, born 1958

By Doug Rickard

The room itself is quite an ordinary room.

If you examine the details and remove the soft, young female from your mental focus you can feel the “oldness”. One can almost smell that scent that seems to permeate the very essence of a room that is inhabited by someone who is “older”. Not old, just “older”. Yes, it is a very average room, perhaps even “unattractive” in itself. The blanket and pillows are unfancy and the nightstands on each side, oak with brass handles, seem to be squarely middle class.

The picture above the bed is almost iconic and reverent in its positioning, yet plain in its subject and in the “ugly” 1960’s or 70’s style portrayal. The scattered items also ugly… a box of Kleenex, alarm clock, a zip-lock baggie full of scrabble chips? yet suggesting prescription medicine. Also, a flashlight handle, as if preparing for an “emergency” that may come. Yes, a very ordinary room with an older scent.

The girl herself is not such an ordinary girl.

In her milky white skin and yellowish locks, she is young and growing in her sexuality and its power. Possibly naïve to the ultimate harshness and the way of this world, yet partially in the know. She is on the cusp. Her gaze tells you that she is aware, but the atmosphere suggesting that she is not yet “there”. She knows of the power in her beauty, yet she can only see the world through the “lens” of her youth. The vantage point of our view and her posture, a lesson in suggestion… her gaze and body laying there, the room loaded with tension. You are drawn from her legs to her face and the face to the wall and the painting above. Now, the painting and the room “feel” different. The affect of this “triangle” is almost temple like, pulling your view intensely inward, right back to her gaze. The girl, in her divorced mother’s room adds another layer of tension and of questions.

Answers are extended, yet never truth… hints and suggestions yet never absolutes. Our baggage and biases as much alive as the room and the girl’s reality.

Youth and its magic, the world and it’s lies. The vacant and the alive… the child fading and the young adult emerging. Emotion is flowing and a new body exploding. Yearning to learn, playing with fire that can burn. In this picture, Lise Sarfati takes us into a magic crossroads full of hard hitting truth and the intense reality of the fast years of the youth. We can remember this time and yet, it seems so far away. Things were electric and the days were long. Time could stand still. Wanting to be older and growing wild. To look back through Sarfati’s girl is to see your self in your minds eye, regardless of your sex.

Youth and the no man’s land before the adult will continue to provide a landscape to explore… there is never an end to the topic, only fresh new ground, something out there, always more.


ASX CHANNEL: Lise Sarfati


(© Doug Rickard, 2008. All rights reserved. All images © copyright the photographer and/or publisher)

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