Review of Sasha Bezzubov and Jessica Sucher’s recent exhibition, The Searchers, in Frieze Magazine by Christy Lange.

Do you have one of those friends who disappeared to India for a month to find himself? Did he come back with a beard? Does he meditate every morning? Do you believe he’s found spiritual enlightenment, or do you have a nagging feeling that it’s all a bit of phoney baloney? If you’re anything like me, you can’t help wondering how people from the USA or Europe can buy a plane ticket to Mumbai, visit a couple of places that cater to tourists, and come back swearing they’ve ‘experienced’ the culture.

It’s a subject that’s as easy to satirize as it is to romanticize, and it’s this prickly theme that American artists Sasha Bezzubov and Jessica Sucher tackle in their photographic series ‘The Searchers’ (2006). These intimate, unapologetically beautiful photos of Western spiritual tourists in India don’t aim for conceptual objectivity or distance. Instead, they’re drenched in an ethereal, almost otherworldly light. Each of the titles of the five portraits reveals the subject’s home country, so it’s possible to imagine their biographies. Emily (Australia), for instance, wears the local garb of beaded jewellery and an embroidered scarf. I try to read her face for hints that she’s reached another plane of consciousness, but her stare is both penetrating and empty…

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