Maja Arte Contemporanea is delighted to host Suzanne Rubin’s first solo exhibition in Rome. Rubin is an American photographer and is displaying 16 shots from the series Serenity, a project which she developed over five years.
Rubin’s work is rooted in and nourished by accidental encounters. She explains her process as a response to the faces she comes across on her frequent walks. “I’m always walking,” she says, “looking, searching for the right face, gesture. I don’t know any of these people. They aren’t friends, family, colleagues. Strangers catch my eye — on the subway, the street, in a restaurant, gym, museum — [I am drawn to] an odd gait, an ‘off’ movement, a distant or uncomfortable gaze. It’s very difficult to pinpoint what draws me to them but I’d say it’s a feeling that there is something unbalanced, marginalized, ‘other’ that I recognize.”
Rubin selects her subjects through the randomness of these encounters; she then invites them to pose for her in more intimate locations, where they are protected from external glances. Here, those who accept the invitation choose to tell their story, allowing Suzanne to experience it, capture it on film and offer it to the world. “The inspiration, for me, is always the truth,” she continues. She adds that she seeks to uncover and reveal “the reality in the faces [so as] to address life at its most real and raw.” She longs to bring to light this truth, to see her subjects beyond their daily masks and allow her viewers to experience their intimate unicity and profoundly human beauty.
One does not find ‘serenity’ in the portraits. If on the one hand the exhibition’s title evokes a longing for a serendipitous state of grace (about which, Suzanne says, “I also believe deeply that the road to peace, calm, serenity must be preceded by an unyielding willingness to deal with who we really are”), on the other hand, her shots crystallize the ephemeral spark that unites the eye behind the camera with the subject before it, an accidental elective affinity.