Josephine Sacabo: An Embarrassment of Riches
I believe in Art as a means of transcendence and connection. My images are simply what I’ve made from what I have been given. I hope they have done justice to their sources and that they will, for a moment, “stay the shadows of contentment too short lived.” (Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz)— Josephine Sacabo
To know Josephine Sacabo is to witness an artist who fully immerses herself in creativity, in all aspects of her life. Some months ago, I visited the Brooklyn Museum and enjoyed an exhibition on Georgia O’Keeffe, put together with the idea that an artist is not just defined by work they create, but their artistry shows up in the way they decorate their home, their clothing, the things they collect, and the way they live. The exhibition reminded me of Josephine–her amazing studio in New Orleans, her home in San Miguel Allende, her gold earrings, her velvet couches and beautifully painted walls, and always gracious and welcoming, then quietly stepping away to tend to her rich and mysterious work. Her photographs are at the essence of who she is and today, I am sharing an embarrassment of Josephine Sacabo riches: 3 new monographs published by Luna Press: Structures of Reverie, Lux Perpetua, and Beyond Thought and two exhibitions of her Tagged series.
In celebration of all this goodness, Josephine will have an Opening Reception & Book Launch: Thursday, October 4, 5-8pm at the A Gallery for Fine Photography, 241 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, on view through January 12, 2019. The exhibition will be the Premier showing of her TAGGED series. On Thursday, October 11th at 7 pm, Josephine will be in Atlanta for an Artist Lecture, “You Are Now” with an opening Reception for TAGGED on Saturday, October 13th, 6-9pm at the EBD4 Art Space, on view through November 3, 2018. (Both the Artist Lecture and Opening Reception events at EBD4 are presented in part by the generous support of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University).
Josephine divides her time between New Orleans and Mexico. Both places inform her work, resulting in imagery that is as dreamlike, surreal, and romantic as the places that she calls home.
Born in Laredo, Texas, in 1944, she was educated at Bard College in New York. Prior to coming to New Orleans, Sacabo lived and worked extensively in France and England. Her earlier work was in the photo-journalistic tradition and influenced by Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She now works in a very subjective, introspective style, using poetry as the genesis for her work. Her many portfolios are visual manifestations of the written word, and she lists poets as her most important influences, including Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vincente Huiobro, and Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Her images transfer the viewer into a world of constructed beauty.
During her 36 year career her work has been featured in over 40 gallery and museum exhibitions in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and is included in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, New Orleans Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and la Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, France.
This luxury limited edition book is presented in a blue mohair box designed and built by Small Editions. The book is entirely handcrafted from the binding to the letterpress and hand-pulled photogravure images printed on handmade Japanese Mura Udaban paper. Signed & numbered limited edition of 7. All books available through Luna Press.
Structures of Reverie Artist Statement
This is the story of a woman who invents her freedom by creating an imaginary architecture made of light, scraps of memory, hopes, and dreams – a permeable architecture where nothing is confined.
It is dedicated to Juana La Loca, the supposed “mad” queen of Spain in the 16th century who for political motives was imprisoned for 46 years by her father, husband, and son in an architecture of darkness and stone. – Josephine Sacabo
Lux Perpetua Artist Statement
This series was inspired by the life and work of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th century Mexican nun who was one of the greatest poets and intellectuals of the American continent. She created the most renowned salon of her time from behind the bars of her cloistered cell. And in that cell she studied science and philosophy; wrote poems, plays, and music; and championed women’s rights to intellectual and spiritual freedom.
In the end, after resisting valiantly for over twenty years, she was silenced by the Inquisition. It is my hope that these images will help break that silence so that we may once again “hear her with our eyes.”
This work is dedicated to women everywhere who, whatever their confines, prevail. They are our hope.– Josephine Sacabo
Beyond Thought Artist Statement
This series is guided with exquisite precision by the writings of the Brazilian author Clarice Lispector. She has guided me to what I call the ‘I wish I had my camera’ moments in my life – moments of experiencing the essence of something before it is embodied in a word or image; moments ‘beyond thought.’
She found the words and I in turn have formed an image for her words. I hope these images have done justice to the power of the sensations at their source. And to Clarice Lispector. – Josephine Sacabo
All images are 20×25” photogravure, printed on Sekishu Tsuru tissue, Chine-collé on Somerset paper. Limited edition of 12, signed and numbered on the verso.
Artist Statement for Tagged
Walking the graffiti gauntlet from my house to my studio, I am confronted by a lexicon of rampant misogyny, violence and sexual insults. The messages may be verbal but their effects are visceral. We are being ‘tagged’- as hos bitches and worse. But I am not that woman.
Why have women become the targets of the rage and frustration expressed? Why are women bearing the consequences for injustices they have not committed? Where are the graffiti messages by women meant for men?
I do not have the answers to these questions, all I have are these images of what it feels like to be a woman walking these streets.
And in this I know I am not alone. – Josephine Sacabo
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Thesis Project: Leah SchretenthalerMay 5th, 2020