Critics’ Picks

The Couple, 1999.

The Couple, 1999.

New York

Alessandra Sanguinetti

Yossi Milo Gallery
245 Tenth Avenue
September 9–October 23, 2004

In the remote farmlands near Buenos Aires live two cousins, Guille and Belinda. One year apart in age, they are the lyrical, generous force that animates Argentinean photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti's six-year-long series of images, “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams,” begun when the girls were nine and ten. In Sanguinetti's much overdue U.S. solo debut, we see the pair of cousins amongst their thickset older relatives and neighbors—but also, much more intimately and remarkably, as they play for the camera at pearl diving and dress-up, assuming such classic roles as Ophelia and Madonna and child. They court devotedly as man and woman, slow-dancing half-naked amidst shrubbery; they shiver in clashing bathing suits, holding each other tight against a thundercloud that's overtaken the horizon. In these earlier “couple” images, the girls' melting embraces seem to fuse a single, magical body from a fat and a skinny one—as in the image of the girls dancing, where one's head obscures the other's. In the later pictures, dominated by straight, sometimes sullen portraits, this tender pairing dissolves as adolescence replaces childhood and bodies appear subtly but suddenly changed. Enigma evaporates and adventure is no longer there to be dreamed, but somehow Sanguinetti's gentle, probing camera has captured it.