Luzia Simons (1953 - )

Transit (2000)

Laminated digital collage
height: 14.8cm
width: 9.5cm

Donated by Luzia Simons 2005


This series comprises digitally manipulated images, of which there are thirty-two examples: corresponding to the number of pages found within a passport. Particularly for the well travelled, but equally for the first-time owner of one, the passport is a precious object. It reads like a book of pictograms, relating particularly memorable experiences.

As well as reinforcing nationality and tracking personal history, the stamps that a passport contains may document changing global borders: for example, the stamp that was once required on entering countries to the East becoming obsolete as these nations are incorporated into the community of Europe, or stamps for countries - and subsequently national identities - that no longer exist in fact; shifting territories and changing names. As anyone who has passed time in an airport or waiting at a border examining this very particular document may have noticed, it is also -to protect against fraudulent reproduction - as extraordinarily intricate in design as a banknote. Luzia Simons' images, which are composed of fragments from her own passport and from a personal archive of photographs, are a visual exploration of this, a book that is soaked in the passing of personal, national and global history.

Because these images are hers, they are also autobiographical. Simons was born in Quixadá in the north of Brazil, was a sometime resident of São Paulo to the south, moved to France in 1976, and has lived in Germany since 1986. It is significant that Simons' interest in migration (that is, not only her own) arose in a country for which immigration has long been a fraught issue. The series that has followed on from this one, Face Migration (2001) consists of large format black and white images of 'foreigners' for whom, for various reasons, Germany has become home. Its political implications are not something that the artist avoids: it is a giving of 'face' to the anonymised migrant or seeker of refuge and is thus also a request for others to face the human implications of what is often used as a political platform.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

browse the collection

artist a-z > work type > advanced search >