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The Art

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Twenty Second Hold (2012)

Sarah Dobai

digital film

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

© Sarah Dobai



Moving Image


Digital film, Digital video, 16mm film


9 minutes

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2013

Ownership history:

Purchased from WORKS|PROJECTS, Bristol by the Contemporary Art Society, 2012; presented to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 2013
From 2004-06 Dobai undertook a residency with Delfina Foundation where she chose Parisian shopping malls in the margins of the city as her object of study. Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, Dobai used this space to examine how the performance of our public selves and our real selves is always mediated by our identification with mass media imagery. She essayed this idea in the Studio/Location photographs series posing models of all ages in sets reminiscent of the architecture of the malls. The film that followed, Twenty Second Hold, traced the tensions between the young models on location shoots, juxtaposing the professional performances (the titular twenty-second pause) of a moment of photographed intimacy and the relaxed gestures in-between in a double performance.

In recent years, as part of the Art Fund International scheme, Bristol Museum built a major collection of works that explore the notion of the modern metropolis, including artists such as Ai Weiwei, Omer Fast, Shilpa Gupta, Walid Raad, and Imran Qureshi. It is within this thematic context that Sarah Dobai’s film entered the collection in conjunction with two photographs from the same series acquired by the Friends of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Emily and Emmanuel (2008/9) and La Scène (2009).

This image may be shared and re-used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (CC BY-NC-ND). Any further use will need to be cleared directly with the rights holder.

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