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Press Release

Symbols of Ourselves

January 25–March 1, 2003

Artist’s Reception

Wednesday, February 5, 2003, 6:00–8:30 pm

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present “Symbols of Ourselves,” an exhibition of black-and-white photographs by Mari Mahr. The show will open on Saturday, January 25 and close on Saturday, March 1, with a reception for the artist on Wednesday, February 5, from 6:00-8:30.

Born in Chile and reared in Hungary, Ms. Mahr moved to London in 1973, and her work invokes a life spent in vastly different cultures, often with idealistic political beliefs at odds with the status quo. Drawing together the political and the personal, this exhibition consists of images from two bodies of work, “Symbols of Ourselves” and “Tales from Within a Small Suitcase.”

Since arriving in London, Mari Mahr has populated her work with dolls and figurines that she has gathered from around the world. “Symbols of Ourselves” is a series of portraits of these surrogates, photographed in stark relief against real and artificial backgrounds. Addressing the predicament of the displaced, the images of these anonymous but recognizable characters are impacted by the cultural transitions that Ms. Mahr has made.

Included in the exhibition is a new series, “Tales from Within a Small Suitcase,” in which Ms. Mahr presents traditional stories using dolls and toys from many generations of her family. As a child moving from Chile to Hungary, Mari Mahr carried a small suitcase holding her most precious possessions—her dolls and toys. Some twenty years later, Mahr's daughter also carried a small suitcase while moving from Budapest to London. Each time the suitcase is opened, another tale is being played out by those within.

Mari Mahr's work is in many public collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; National Gallery of Australia; Unilever Collection in London; Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; Thessaloniki Museum of Photography in Greece; and Scottish Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow. Ms. Mahr lives and works in London.