Lucas Samaras (b. 1936, Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece) has produced an expansive body of work across media and discipline—including photography, painting, installation, assemblage, drawing, and sculpture—united by a focus on the body and psyche. Emphasizing autobiography, he has often made himself the subject of his own work, using his image to push the boundaries of physical and psychological transformation.
He has been the subject of more than one-hundred solo exhibitions and seven major career retrospectives, including Unrepentant Ego: The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 2004, which featured a staggering 400 works. In 2009, Samaras represented Greece at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition that spanned four decades of the artist’s practice. His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including the Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Sculpture, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1964, 1968, 1970); Documenta (1968, 1972, 1977, 2017); and the Venice Biennale (1980).
New York—Pace is pleased to announce a new exhibition of work by Lucas Samaras featuring 700 photographs and a mirrored room installation. The exhibition will be on view from May 2 to June 27, 2015, at 510 West 25th Street. An opening reception for the artist will be held Friday, May 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.
To accompany the exhibition, Pace will publish a catalogue featuring a new text by the artist in addition to an app, available on iOS, with all of the images in the exhibition.
Samaras continues his exploration of manipulated images and identity with 700 digitally altered images that will sit on a shelf lining the longest lengths of the gallery. Comprised mostly of self-portraits, the photographs reflect the artist’s unrelenting self-inquiry. Among the recent self-portraits, Samaras has interspersed personal family photographs with childhood images of himself, transforming the project into a personal archive and a biographical inquiry.
The manipulations of the photographs refer back to the rainbow-tinged Auto-Polaroids Samaras began in the 1960s and his Photo-Transformations of the 1970s. Using a range of techniques from filters to mirroring and doubling, Samaras’s manipulations form visual metaphors for the psychological probing and self-investigation that appears throughout the artist’s oeuvre. The filters and changes that characterize this massive body of images also refer to his proto-Photoshop works of the 1980s and digital videos in the 2000s, constituting something of an archive of previous techniques.
Previously shown in Samaras’s exhibition at the Greek pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale, Doorway is a mirrored room conceived in 1966 and not realized until 2007. Samaras executed and exhibited his first Mirrored Room installation in 1966 at Pace, which is now included in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Doorway is a cube with two open sides and a solid cube protruding from the floor at its center. The facing reflective surface initiates a chain of reflections, where the unmarked space of the cube becomes a site for viewers to experience their own visage ad infinitum. The seemingly interminable self-reflections resonate with the overwhelming body of small images that line the gallery.
Lucas Samaras (b. 1936 Kastoria, Greece) has produced work in all varieties of media over his five-decade career, often working with his own image. A student of Allan Kaprow, Samaras was a key figure in the Happenings of the late 1950s and early 1960s collaborating with Robert Whitman and participating in Kaprow’s seminal 18 Happenings in 6 Parts in 1959. Samaras went on to be an early vanguard in assemblage, Polaroid film, and digitally manipulated photography. His work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including The Art of Assemblage, The Museum of Modern Art (1961); three editions of Documenta (1968, 1972, 1977); the Whitney Annual (1965, 1968, 1970); and the 1980 Venice Biennale. He represented Greece in the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Samaras has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1971); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1972–73, 2003–04); Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (1989–90, 2014); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975, 1992); and International Center of Photography (2008). In both 1981 and 1989, the Denver Museum of Art organized traveling exhibitions of his work; the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, Athens, organized a retrospective of Samaras’ work at the National Gallery of Greece, which was his first solo exhibition in his country of birth. A 1983 exhibition of his Polaroid photographs organized by the Polaroid International Collection traveled to twelve venues over three years including the Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt; and Serpentine Gallery, London.
Samaras’s work is included in more than forty public collections worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago; Dia Art Foundation, New York, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.
Samaras lives and works in New York. This is his thirty-fifth exhibition at the gallery since he joined Pace in 1966.
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2015. Pace Gallery. Spiral bound
24 pages plus 4 5-pages fold-outs: over 700 color illustrations;10 x 7 ½ inches