Past Exhibition


The Shiseido Gallery will host an exhibition of works by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood. Taylor-Wood was born in 1967 in London and graduated from Goldsmith College in 1990. She is an artist who creates works with a narrative touch using her chief media, which are film, video and photography.

The stories seen in her works are often mysterious and leave the viewers puzzled, as they do not bring forth certain climaxes or conclusions. At the same time, they leave a strong impression on the viewers, for Taylor-Wood expresses emotions that are inherent in the human psyche from a calm, subjective viewpoint.

In 1997, she received the Illy Cafe Prize for Most Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale, and in the following year, she was nominated for the Turner Prize, a prestigious title that is awarded to British artists who presented outstanding works during the previous year.

The exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery is comprised of 12 works including the “Soliloquy” series that Taylor-Wood began in 1998, her representative work “Wrecked” (1990), as well as her most recent works that were shown at London’s White Cube Gallery in November 2001. The exhibition title “To Be or Not to Be” is taken from the opening line of Hamlet’s soliloquy in Shakespeare’s play, and this is Taylor-Wood’s first solo exhibition in Japan.

Taylor-Wood employs the element of moving images and attempts to express notions of time and space in her photographs. Her works are also deeply related to historical paintings. Between 1995 and 1998, she created the series “Five Revolutionary Second,” in which she photographed interiors of rooms under 5-second exposures using a 360-degree camera. In the “Soliloquy” series, which will be shown in this show, these panoramic photographs are placed below the large central portraits like animations. These are in the tradition of predellas. (A predella is the lower part of an altarpiece or a bas-relief sculpture, divided into three or more sections and decorated with scenes linked to the main subject.) The work “Wrecked” may remind viewers of the “Last Supper,” but the figure standing in the center of the photo is a woman who is naked from her waist up. As with this work and the “Soliloquy” series, Taylor-Wood combines religious imagery as seen in Renaissance or Baroque paintings, with secular facets of contemporary urban life, and by doing so, explores the boundaries between the sacred and the profane. “Soliloquy I” is based on the “Death of Chatterton” painted by Henry Wallis. (Thomas Chatterton was an eighteenth century British poet.) The Chatterton in Taylor-Wood’s work looks like he is just about to surrender himself to a romantic death, but he may also appear to have overdosed on drugs. The predella at the bottom of the photograph reveals the figure’s madness and his unrequited desires. With her new landscape photo, Taylor-Wood tries something new, taking the motif of the slanted tree standing in the barren land as a symbol of her identity.

Exhibition Details for SAM TAYLOR-WOOD "TO BE OR NOT TO BE"

Organized by: SHISEIDO CO., LTD.
Dates: January 9 - March 17, 2002
In cooperation with: Waldemar Januszczak
Supported by: The British Council
All photos courtesy of white Cube, London©Sam Taylor-Wood

Top of Page
  • Current Exhibition
  • Next Exhibition
  • Past Exhibition
  • Exhibition Schedule