When Sam Taylor-Johnson (born 1967) climbed the famous mirrored staircase of Chanel's headquarters at 31 rue Cambon, Paris, she did not quite know what to expect. Her destination was Coco Chanel's private apartment on the second floor; her mission, to photograph it. Through the door marked "MADEMOISELLE PRIVÉ," Taylor-Johnson entered Coco Chanel's secret world—exactly as she had left it at her death in 1971. Taylor-Johnson captures the mysterious, eerie presence of Coco's ornaments and furniture: a golden lion, a bejewelled birdcage, leather-bound books, Chinese lacquer screens, crystal chandeliers. Ultimately we are left with a sense of beautiful emptiness—Coco's touch is everywhere, but everywhere is haunted by her absence.
In 1947, London's Circus Clowns Club began employing an oddly practical method to record its members' makeup: they copied each design onto an egg, which was then placed in a registry that effectively trademarked the identity of each member. Painted on real chicken eggshells, with the inside emptied out, by Stan Bult, the first head of the Circus Clowns Club, these studies now form part of the Clowns' Gallery and Museum in north London. Bult's practice was resurrected by the Club in 1984, and in addition to paint, samples of the clowns' costumes and wig hair are often used, so that these eggs become much more than a mere record of creative makeup, and often achieve a wonderfully eccentric kind of portraiture. Today the collection of the Clowns' Gallery and Museum includes egg portraits of some of the most famous clowns in circus history, such as Co-Co, Lou Harris and Grimaldi. Birth of a Clown compiles 53 photographs of the eggs by English artist Sam Taylor-Wood, who discovered the museum while researching clowns as part of a larger project. Sam Taylor-Wood was born in London in 1967. She came to prominence in the 1990s as a member of the Young British Artists group, and is currently represented by White Cube in London.
Published by Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Foreword by Jill Snyder. Text by Margo A. Crutchfield, Barbara London, Linda Nochlin.
A leading artist of her generation, Sam Taylor-Wood came to prominence in the mid-1990s as one of the YBAs (Young British Artists), alongside such artists as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, who were quickly propelled to celebrity status for their provocative and sensational works. Taylor-Wood has since become renowned for deftly manipulating the signature media of our age--photography, film and video--into compelling psychological portraits that tap into the ethos of our times. Documenting the artist's first major solo museum exhibition in the United States, this catalogue illustrates and discusses a selection of her most significant works from the mid-1990s to the present. Key pieces include the film "Hysteria" (1997), which portrays a woman's tumultuous descent from exhilaration to psychic disintegration; a selection from the 2002-2004 Crying Men photographs, which depict male film stars in moments of sorrow and introspection; "David" (2004), an hour-long video portrait of soccer icon David Beckham, sleeping; and the 2004 Self Portrait Suspended series. This volume provides an overview of the artist's work of the last 10 years, with commentary on Taylor-Wood's exploration of such themes as the inner psyche, vulnerability--both emotional and physical--suspended states of being and the aspiration to transcend human limits.
PUBLISHER Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
BOOK FORMAT Paperback, 9.5 x 12 / 100 pgs / 35 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 3/1/2008 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2008 p. 81
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781880353387TRADE List Price: $30.00 CDN $35.00
Published by Steidl/BALTIC. Essays by Nick Cave, Peter Doroshenko, James Fox, Harland Miller, Ossian Ward and Rufus Wainwright. Interview by Shani Annushka.
As one of the leading artists of her generation, Sam Taylor-Wood is acclaimed for her compelling psychological portraits in photography, film and video. Over the last several years they've included a series of still photographs of male celebrities crying, and a short video observing the English footballer David Beckham as he sleeps. Each piece creates a slightly enigmatic situation replete with latent energy. Taylor-Wood is compulsively examining the contemporary psyche and the place of the individual within the social group, and in order to do so, she is displaying the vulnerability and fragility of the human body and self. Sam Taylor-Wood presents the artist's most iconic pieces alongside previously unpublished images from her own archives, including personal, reportage and documentary work. She asked musicians and writers who have inspired her to contribute text, and Nick Cave, Peter Doroshenko, James Fox, Harland Miller, Rufus Wainwright and Ossian Ward complied. Their writing appears alongside an in-depth interview with the artist by Annushka Shani.