Erie, United States, 1951 - Los Angeles, United States, 2013
Allan Sekula was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1959, and was based in Los Angeles from 1985 until his death in 2013. He began his adult life in the years of protest against the Vietnam War, studying Marxists thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse, and went on to revitalise the American tradition of documentary photography and social criticism as an artist and a theorist. He began making installations but gradually shifted towards photography and text essays, which allow him to analyse capitalist logic in a global world and the traffic of human beings for the purpose of labour. His strong commitment to production and how it shapes our bodies and the way we live has led him to photograph the employees of large factories and shipping companies.
Part of his work has focused on the sea as a forgotten space, in which the international trade of the big multinationals plays out the savage logic of capital.
While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures I make, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating.