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I am convinced that
the reason why Moisés, the book, works so well and powerfully is because it is a very smartly designed book, in which the form and construction vastly elevate the photographs, creating an experience for the viewer that will make her or him feel the desire that was driving its creation (...) Moisés demonstrates the power of this particular way to use photographs: with a simple, yet very strongly executed concept and construction, the book takes the viewer out of the world of literalness that so much photography never manages to leave. An impressive achievement.

Jörg Colberg, writer and editor

Moisés is an unusual book. Firstly it attempts to make visual something that is completely unrepresentable - a whole jumble of repressed emotions and her dead father. That is a pretty audacious starting point for any photography project (...) There are very few books which I find as compelling. This is partly due to the structure of the book and partly because of the simplicity of the pictures that have a powerful jolt to deal with very real human emotions without ever being sentimental or overplayed. It just surprises me every time I look at it (...) It’s extraordinary. It’s also strange, sad, mysterious and at times sinister. No other book this year has even remotely come close to the power of Moisés for me.

Susan Bright, curator

Mariela Sancari’s Moisés also negotiated a taboo subject in a powerful and deftly handled manner. The subtext is the suicide of her father, Moisés Sancari, and the hole it left in her and her twin sister’s life. Mariela sought out men who resembled her father as he might have looked had he lived into his 70s. She photographed them dressed in his clothes, with her own image often appearing like a shadow in the image. Both obsessional and formally accomplished, Moisés is a study of grieving that lodges in the head.

Sean O’ Hagan, writer for The Guardian

In Sancari’s work
there is a sense of looking for solace, in the belief that photography can provide a way of working through pain and grief (...) The experience of the book is akin to that of endlessly running through a large, tight crowd as a child trying to find your father, and seeing someone who looks like him only to find, as you embrace him, that it’s a stranger. This book is a most fantastic insight into the feelings of loss and utter despair we have in moments in our lives when the eternal hits us smack in the face. We, like Sancari has, look around for something to hold on to, to give the event some meaning.

Daniel Boetker-Smith, educator, writer, curator, publisher, and photographer

The project Moisés by Mariela Sancari was sparked by her father’s death; specifically that she was not allowed to see his body. To find closure, Mariela placed a classified ad featuring an old portrait of her father. She asked men of her dad’s age to study the image and contact her should they see a resemblance. The photographs Sancari collected of these men resulted in a touching and fantastically edited book.

Erik Kessels, artist, designer and curator

Moises consists of portraits of those men pictured from a variety of angles, against neutral backdrops and often wearing the same knitted sweater that had once belonged to her father. Such a simple concept belies a book of surprising depth. Opening the double cover the viewer is confronted with two interlocking sets of pages, which interlace with one another as each page is ‘turned’. As a metaphor for the fragmentary and unpredictable nature of memory it’s a perfect device.

Lewis Bush, photographer and writer

The two interior print blocks face each other and although there is a specific sequence to the interleaving, the pages can be re-mixed, re-sequenced and shuffled like a deck a cards by the reader to create new and alternative narratives. A lot of designers are really pushing the book design space today, sometimes with disastrous results. That is not the case with this book.  This photobook is a very intriguing concept that is well executed and which works very nicely for me, bordering on brilliant in its simplicity!

Douglas Stockdale, visual artist, editor and writer

As family histories go, Mariela Sancari’s poignant photo book is of the highest order. (…) As a design device, it perfectly heightens the searching quality of the photographs. Loss and longing are embedded in every picture but with a particular kind of brightness and clarity. In a sense this is a one-image book, yet it possesses tremendous power and profundity. Sancari has found an utterly fascinating way to bring alive the memory of her father in the minds of her viewers.

Tim Clark, editor, writer and curator

Delightfully challenging in its exactly right choice of design applied to present the work.

Anne Wilkes Tucker, curator

Reviews of Moisés

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  • Moisés, 2nd edition
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  • BUNDLE: Moisés + The two headed horse. Reenactment in ten acts
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