Magazine article The New Yorker

A Living Man Declared Dead

Magazine article The New Yorker

A Living Man Declared Dead

Article excerpt

For four years, the artist Taryn Simon travelled around the world researching and recording the stories of eighteen bloodlines. She focussed on a central member of each line, including the body double of Uday Hussein, a South Korean man abducted at sea by agents of the North, and a polygamous Kenyan traditional healer. For each group in "A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII," on view at the Museum of Modern Art beginning in May, Simon photographed living ascendants and descendants of a single person or animal. She juxtaposed these portraits with relevant public records and historical documents, underlining the outside forces and accidents that influence individuals.

INDIA

While visiting the local land-registry office in Uttar Pradesh, where population growth has increased competition for land, Shivdutt Yadav, above left, discovered that official records listed him as dead. Officials are frequently bribed to have living people declared dead, so that other family members may inherit their property. Yadav's brother, Phoolchand, right, is also listed as dead. Babloo and Mukesh Yadav, center, are Shivdutt's grandsons. …

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