Nicholas Nixon (born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947) occupies a unique and prominent place in the history of photography in recent decades. Art portrait, exploiting the descriptive potential of the camera, his work reveals both what is seen and what remains generally invisible. The photographs of Nicholas Nixon capture these fleeting moments, evocatives and impossible to tell, that are love, passion, happiness, suffering, intimacy, passing of time and loneliness. Their ability to convey emotions gives the work a universal value. Far from stereotyped speeches, they question the enigmatic depths of the human soul. Couples, families, old people. With these moments of life at their fingertips, Nixon approaches them with a large-format camera evoking the proximity and cooperation of the subjects he photographs.
This exhibition, organized by Fundación MAPFRE of Madrid in collaboration with the A Stichting Foundation, presents a wide selection of photographs from the various series produced by Nicholas Nixon. The catalog accompanying the exhibition is published by Kehrer Verlag.
Exhibition curators: Carlos Gollonet, Jean-Paul Deridder.
The Brown Sisters
“The Brown Sisters series was like that, without thinking about it. A photo that we all loved gave rise to a fad, which gave rise to an idea. Precisely what most parents have. (Nicholas Nixon)
The series titled The Brown Sisters is undeniably the most famous of Nicholas Nixon’s. It consists of portraits of his wife Beverly Brown (Bebe) and her three sisters, taken every year since 1975. The order in which the subjects pose is the same as the one they adopted by chance for the first image of the series: from left to right, Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie. With a few exceptions, they always look at the camera directly. From this simple starting point, Nixon creates one of the most compelling explorations of portraiture and time in the history of contemporary photography. Each of these images represents a cross section of their life, but following them year after year we measure how much the sisters, present in our memory, change, and the passage of time on their faces is a proof of vulnerability that awakens a painful sensation of loss in the viewer. However, the passage of time does not appear only in the appearance, the alteration of the faces and the change of fashion: an attentive observation reveals psychological evolutions and the variation or the maintenance of a posture within the family dynamics. The smiles, the seriousness, the complicity and the shared joy of a pregnancy coexist with the sadness of a distant look that reveals deep suffering and perplexity. These photographs produce the same effect as family album that brings the viewer back to emotions and moments .
This series, halfway between documentary objectivity and emotional intimacy, is disturbing and fascinating in that it introduces change and rhythm into a repetition. Each photograph takes shape and meaning by joining others, and it is as an integral part of this series that it acquires all its strength.
(The Brown Sisters was the first acquisition of Fundación MAPFRE, it also appears in the collections of MoMA in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, George Eastman House in Rochester , the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the European House of Photography in Paris and the A Stichting Foundation in Brussels.)
Exhibition from January 20th to March 31st 2019
Foundation A Stichting
Av. Van Volxem, 304 box1
B – 1190 Brussels