April 7 - May 7, 2016
Christian Larsen presents a survey of selected works by the American artist, filmmaker and writer Sam Samore. Referred to as one of the pioneers of large-scale conceptual photography, Samore has exhibited regularly in Europe and the US for over 40 years. Prominent monographic exhibitions have been held at P.S.1 MOMA in New York, Casino Luxembourg, De Appel in Amsterdam and the Kunsthalle Zürich. Samore has participated in the 46th Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale in 2007, and the Tirana Biennale 2005.
In the gallery Samore arranges a selection of pictures from his latest series Accumulation of Shapes (Part Two), 2015 and from his early best-known series Allegories of Beauty (Incomplete), 1990s - which together provide insights and contrasts into his provocative body of work. As a third aspect of this survey project, he bridges his meditation on the interplay of cinema and painting by screening a selection of short films: Compendium of Perplexities, 2011; Glossary of Delusions, 2010 and Archipelago of Enigmas, 2012. The three films form a triptych, even if they are intended as autonomous works. We follow different characters in non-linear and dreamlike sequences recognizable from Samore’s oeuvre.
Allegories of Beauty (Incomplete), originating in the 1990s, solidified his unique and now instantly recognizable visual language: cinematic, grainy, large scale black and white photographs of the faces of individuals in various psychological states of the beautiful, the disenchanted and other representations of the discontinuous self. Samore’s pictures resemble stills from an imaginary movie, hypnotically elusive, triggering the unconscious – where his characters play upon our projections, obsessions, longings and fears. Erogenous and fetishized zones of the body have also been important to Samore’s pursuits, and the exhibition features a picture of lips from this group of works Allegories of Beauty (Incomplete).
His fundamental sensibility runs through the latest trilogy Accumulation of Shapes, but Samore chooses for the first time to create his dismantling of singular methods of storytelling by concentrating on one actress. Each picture features the same individual in an enigmatic scenario, and is composed of two seemingly different frames of the same scene - cut up, then linked together, but separated by a vertical black line. This rupture of the “realistic” picture plane creates time fragmentation and fluctuating spatial perspectives – referencing the Jump Cut and Synthetic Cubism. He continues to deploy blurred focus and large grain to further advance his ideas of psychological, spatial and thematic dislocation. Samore touches upon one of the most difficult philosophical challenges in post-modern discourse where the ”self" is no longer a given, or clearly defined.
Characteristic of Samore’s whole oeuvre is the mesmerizing quality of his works, which compels the viewer to look longer, to want more. It's hard to let go of these scenarios, which are a masterfully technical and conceptual hybrid of film, photography and painting.