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Sarah Dobai, Hidden in Plain Sight, 2015, 14 min

Hidden in Plain Sight was commissioned by the Centre d’art et photographie de Lectoure for the exhibition “Le Point de Fuite de L’Histoire” as part of the L’été Photographique.  The film is based on fragments of Robert Bresson’s acclaimed film “Pickpocket” (1959). 


The work re-enacts short scenes from Bresson’s film in which the protagonists rehearse and perform the techniques that pickpockets use to avoid being caught. Made in the studio with a small group of non-professional actors the film reflects on the position of the actor and the thief each reliant on the arts of mimicry and deception.


Hidden in Plain Sight was originally screened alongside a voiceover performed live an actor standing beside the screen projected image in front of the audience. For other later iterations the voice of the actor who performed in Lectoure has been made integral to the film (with English subtitles added for an English audience).


At the screening in Lectoure, a short introduction to the work located the work in relation to my recent publication The Overcoat (published by Four Corners Books) and the routine use of sleight of hand and misdirection by the banking industry which came to light in the wake of the 2008 financial crash . Sarah Dobai



Sarah Dobai’s lens-based work reflects on the central position of a photography and cinema in relation to on-going debates around representation, realism and authorship. Recent projects have focused on re-constructing and repurposing historical works of literature or cinema as a means to animate present-day social and political concerns.

 Dobai has shown widely in museums and galleries in Europe, USA & Canada.


Recent projects include the short film The Donkey Field which connected a family memoir of Budapest in 1944 to Robert Bresson’s acclaimed Au Hasard Balthazar . It was shown at the Imperial War Museum (London), Danielle Arnaud Gallery, Glass Yard Gallery (Budapest) among other venues. The Overcoat, published by Four Corners Books, a republication of Nikolai Gogol’s classic novella (1842). Works from The Overcoat and the film Hidden in Plain Sight featured in the solo show Principles & Deceptions at Or Gallery (Vancouver) and Filet (London), Twenty Second Hold at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Bees in a Hive of Glass, a collaboration with novelist Tom McCarthy produced for TANK Magazine & Whitstable Biennale.


Her work features Charlotte Cotton’s Photography as Contemporary Art, Photographie Contemporaine by Michel Poivert  (2nd edition) and Phillip Prodger’s forthcoming The Photographic Portrait A History.


Sarah Dobai did her MFA in Vancouver, Canada. She lives and works in London and is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. Her most recent film…

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