Exhibition — 18 Jan until 10 May 2020
Imperial Courts is a 69-minute three-channel video installation by the Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg (1964, Amsterdam).
The work is the last link in the larger project of the same name in which Lixenberg recorded life in Imperial Courts, a South Central Los Angeles neighbourhood, between 1993 and 2015, through photography, a web documentary and audio recordings. The video invites the viewer into the residents’ everyday lives through interconnected scenes that gradually unfold on the three screens. She chronicles ordinary and dramatic events, parties and special occasions, interspersed with footage of routine and banal scenes, de-sensationalised and stripped of spectacle. Lixenberg masterfully captures the ebb and flow of life within a community that is often regarded as socially isolated.
Like Bertien van Manen, whose work is being shown at the same time in the Stedelijk, Lixenberg builds close relationships with her subjects and spends years documenting their lives. Her working method, however, is very different: Lixenberg approaches her subject with observation and distance, uses a large format camera and strives for ultimate sharpness.