January 30 - May 19, 2024
Alessandra Sanguinetti (born 1968) was raised and educated in Argentina. In 1999, she met two inimitable children, Guillermina Aranciaga and Belinda Stutz. The two young women, whose lives she then followed, became icons in her life and work. Against the backdrop of rural Argentina, in an overwhelmingly male world of gauchos and farmers, the artist’s documentary work spans different stages of life, reflecting on the irreversibility of time.
With the help of the two cousins (Aranciaga and Stutz), using scenography and accessories, Sanguinetti puts her photographs and her models into dialogue in a resolutely phantasmagorical series. As Morpheus holds a mirror in one hand while offering the power of dreams in the other, the artist paradoxically transports us to the realm of illusion and portrays a world proper to the two individuals, at first no more than “points on the horizon”.
In dreamlike, psychoanalytical images, Sanguinetti subtly addresses the continual question of an artist’s relationship to her subject. Within and beyond the series, the three women, Guillermina, Belinda and Alessandra, ultimately form another type of family.
The Adventures of Guille and Belinda is always worthy of an update. Shown at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2006, at the BAL in Paris, 2011, it will be shown from January 30 to May 19 at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in an extended, updated series of 52 photographs and 3 films. The project is rich in its past and current forms, as it will be in forms to come.
Clément Chéroux, director, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Pierre Leyrat, exhibitions manager, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Alessandra Sanguinetti was born in New York City in 1968 where she lived for two years before moving to Buenos Aires with her family, where she lived and worked until 2002. She is currently based in the San Francisco Bay area and Buenos Aires. She is an ICP graduate, a member of Magnum Photos since 2007, and recipient of numerous fellowships and awards for her photography (including the Guggenheim Fellowship, Hasselblad Foundation Grant, the Rencontres d’Arles Discovery Award and many other). Her first monograph, On the Sixth Day (2005), details the beautiful and tragic reality of life and death on a farm, seen through rich color photographs of animals and their lives. In The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams (2010), her second and most famous work, Sanguinetti follows the lives of two cousins as they grow up in the countryside of Buenos Aires. The work is a collaborative picture of girlhood and what it feels like to transition from youth to adulthood. Honorary devotion punctuated with a playful curiosity, Sanguinetti’s work transcends simple documentary and becomes about the greater stakes of what it means to be human, animal, alive in this world. The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Illusion of an Everlasting Summer (2020) continues the depiction of her two muses, who she follows through adulthood. Some Say Ice (2022), inspired by Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip, Sanguinetti explores the town of Black River Falls and its inhabitants over the course of several years. Held with the same tender curiosity which accents her other works, an ominous undercurrent runs through the stark, black and white images, highlighting the melancholy and somewhat haunted realities of everyday human life. In Le Gendarme Sur la Colline (2017), commissioned by Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Aperture Foundation, Sanguinetti explores her vision of France, in which old traditions persist even while they fray and shift in relation to contemporary stresses, including multiculturalism. The work presents an intuitive, often lyrical journey that is undercut with a sense of tension about what it means to be French and to photograph the French today. In her book Sorry, Welcome (2013), Sanguinetti turns her sensitive lens onto her own family, voyeuristically capturing the nuances of her own personal, family life.