Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln.
February 27 – April 2, 2015
Galerie Gisela Capitain is pleased to announce its fifth solo exhibition with the American artist, filmmaker and writer, Sam Samore. The show features the second installment of Samore’s new trilogy: Accumulation of Shapes, which consists of three separate groups of pictures, wherein each group is devoted to one female protagonist – a new conceptual approach in the work of the artist.
Accumulation of Shapes (Part Two), showing at Galerie Gisela Capitain, features pictures of a young actress representing, on the surface, a classical ideal of beauty as defined by youth, symmetry, proportion, sensuousness, enigma and power. Each photograph displays the apparatus of apparent sequential parts – cut up and then pieced together into one image, separated by a vertical black line. These simultaneous representations recall the layering of time fragmentation and shifting spatial perspectives – hallmarks of Synthetic Cubism, and the so called topsy turvy of storytelling abstraction.
As in his earlier works, in this new series Samore continues to investigate signifiers of narration and the jump cut of contemporary myth. Initiating impossible self-doubt and love, the pictures dismantle representations of the self. By having the same individual in each photograph, he concentrates for the first time on manifestations of a re-inscribed discontinuity of personality.
Whereas the first group of works, Accumulation of Shapes (Part One), depicts a seemingly postmodern young woman, adrift in the world of narcissistic self-examination, Accumulation of Shapes (Part Two) represents a more pensive, more melancholy, and more romantic protagonist – a young sensuous woman who transcends eternal adolescence, naive self- absorption, and the paradoxal conflicts of interior/exterior beauty.
She is surrounded by quotidian mise-en-scène: standing in a staircase, laying on the floor, slumbering in eroticized self-torment and melancholy. The viewer is confronted with enigmatic fragments of a narrative in which the actress’ motivations for her actions, as well as the demarcation of the plot itself, can only be projected upon. The intentional use of blurred focus, the textual graininess of the monochrome pointillism, and the specificity of film framing underscores the fragmentary search for meaning in an increasingly dislocated society.
A recurring motif of Samore’s pictures for the past forty years is the mirror – the looking glass through which there exists the special-effect of the simulacrum. At the same time, by employing the mirror, Samore plays with the contemporary discourses of viewpoint relativity, and social- cultural memory. This new trilogy begins as a search for alternative proposals to our current cultural disillusionment – and invites us to change our own personal perspectives of life.
The cinema of Antonioni and Bergman, the figurative painting of Caravaggio and Manet, and the cataclysm of 1968 have influenced Samore’s oeuvre. As well, Samore has analyzed the contemporary art of the mid-1960s and early 1970s. Samore distills the investigated paradigm shift in cinema and art through his own personal obsessions, such as the representations of the beautiful and the alienated. He undertakes to examine the transformation of the contemporary female protagonist – by referencing Monica Vitti, Kim Novak, Bibi Andersson, Anna Karina, Rita Hayworth, Frieda Kahlo, Catherine Deneuve, to name a few. Samore’s examination of women touches upon such films as Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) – one of the most disturbing elucidations of repressed love and desire – or Orson Welles film noir The Lady from Shanghai (1947).
Sam Samore lives in New York. His most well-known works include The Suicidist, 1973; Situations, 1980s; Allegories of Beauty (Incomplete), 1990s; Scenarios, 2007 – among others. Samore started filmmaking in 1970. Recent films have been screened at the Rockbund Museum in Shanghai, the film program of Art Basel, the Anthology Film Archives, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as at the Locarno Film Festival. Samore has written four published books of short stories, and he is currently working on a novel. He has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1 in New York, Casino Luxembourg, De Appel, Amsterdam, and the Kunsthalle Zurich.