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Dana Lixenberg is known for her stripped-down portraits that revel in the elemental characteristics of her subjects. She uses natural light and a large-format field camera – a cumbersome tool, which necessitates what the artist refers to as a ‘slow dance’ between her and her subjects. The resulting portraits contain an enormous amount of detail and texture, and are as revelatory as a personal encounter. The power of the work arises from its intimacy, compositional rigor and, importantly, the absence of social stereotyping. Lixenberg has been predominantly active in the United States, and her thorough understanding of the country and its society seeps through palpably in her work. 

Besides her extensive editorial practice, for which she many cultural icons, she pursues long-term projects with a primary focus on marginalized communities. These projects include Jeffersonville, Indiana (2005), a collection of landscapes and portraits of a small town’s homeless population and The Last Days of Shishmaref (2008), which portrays an Inupiaq community on an eroding island off the coast of Alaska. Lixenberg’s most extensive body of work to date is Imperial Courts, 1993-2015 (2015), which she begun in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King riots. Spanning 22 years, the project tracks the changing shape of an underserved community in Watts, Los Angeles. In contrast to the often one dimensional, sensationalized media coverage of this neighborhood, Lixenberg employs a more subdued and collaborative photographic approach. Like her other projects, Imperial Courts consists of a series of photographs and a publication. Exploring other media for the first time, Lixenberg also included audio recordings and created a three-channel video installation. The project was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2017 and continues to be exhibited internationally.

Dana Lixenberg is based in Amsterdam (NL). She studied photography at the London College of Printing from 1984 to 1986, and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1987 until 1989. Her work is collected widely and has been exhibited at institutions such as Aperture Foundation, New York (US); Mai Manó Ház, Budapest (HU); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (NL); Centre Photographique, Rouen (FR); MMK, Frankfurt (DE); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (UK); Busan Biennale (KR); Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (NL); LACP, Los Angeles (US); and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL). 

 

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