The Space Between Us: Alec Soth

1 January - 6 March 2022 Beijing



Alec Soth first caught attention in 2004 with a series of portraits of people living in small-town America, a project he titled “Sleeping by the Mississippi”. This was followed by a succession of projects exploring topics from love to (in)visibility to escape, each within the context of mid-western American life. For reasons of his unique perspective, Soth has been described as one of the greatest photographers of America's social and geographical landscape at work today. 


“The Space Between Us” includes representative works from each of Soth's major series——"Perfect Strangers", "Looking for Love", "Sleeping by the Mississippi", "Niagara", "The Last Days of W", "Broken Manual", "Songbook", "I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating". Working in series is an important and distinctive aspect of his approach. “The mark of a great photographer isn’t taking one amazing photo,” he says, “but the ability to assemble an amazing collection.”


Alec Soth is foremost an artist. He thinks like a painter whose material is light. While sensations of intimacy and isolation are found everywhere in his photographs, more important for his approach is the subtle choice of focal point; on the contrary to the conventions of portraiture, Soth is most interested in highlighting the relationship between objects by accenting the space between them. At all times, Soth carefully examines the space between himself and the subject.


A unique aspect of his photography lies in the way he makes a portrait: Soth likes to step into a person's life, entering their psychological as much as their living space. Yet, in giving himself up to the mood of a moment, the photographs are often a reflection of his own mood as prompted by the encounter.


Soth’s latest project, I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating was produced after a year-long hiatus in which he pondered the burning question What can a photograph really tell us about anything? Or How is it possible to make meaningful photographs in a world where half a million images are taken every second? His musing is revealed here in 44 extraordinary images from Soth’s career so far.


About Alec Soth


Alec Soth (born 1969) lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has published over 25 books, including his first critically acclaimed monograph Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004). This was followed by Niagara (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007), Dog Days, Bogotá (2007), The Last Days of W (2008), Broken Manual (2010), Songbook (2015), Gathered Leaves (2015), and I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating (2019) among others. In 2008 Soth started his own publishing company, Little Brown Mushroom, which is based in Minnesota.


His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at international museums and is in the permanent collections of institutions including Brooklyn Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Waiker Art Center Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, amongst others.