Peder Lund has the pleasure of welcoming you to the exhibition Lucas Samaras: Polaroids from the 70s. The exhibition shows a selection of central works from Samaras’ Polaroids from the 1970s in which Samaras himself is the subject matter, photographed in his studio and home.
Samaras began using a Polaroid 360 camera in 1969, which gave rise to the series Auto-Polaroid. In 1973, the Polaroid Corporation gave him an SX-70 camera, which he used in his subsequent exploration of the medium, during which he further manipulated his motifs. Such manipulation is especially pronounced in the series Photo-Transformations.
Despite the artist’s central standing, consolidated by many purchases by and exhibitions at major museums around the world, the work of Lucas Samaras has never before been shown in Norway. The exhibition at Peder Lund therefore provides a unique insight into Samaras’ art, hitherto inaccessible to the Norwegian public.
Lucas Samaras’ photographic self-portraits made use of, what was at the time, the new Polaroid technique, which appealed to him both for its intimacy – it is highly suitable for private, self-reflective images in a domestic setting – and for its chemical properties. The chemical properties enable him to speedily develop a picture that can be manipulated and embellished with a painterly quality before the photosensitive material hardens and is fixed. The resulting self-portraits are narcissistic, in that they offer the artist the possibility to view the results of his grimaces and posturings almost immediately. The new technique is so rapid that it can be compared with grooming oneself in front of a mirror. In this sense, these are captured mirror images. No less significant is it that these pictures were produced in a context in which performance art, with its interest in boundaries and its explorations with body language, was crucial to the neo- avant-garde’s activities. Exploration of the artist’s own body and facial expressions did in addition become an important theme in the new medium of video art in the late 1960s. Parallels to Samaras’ performative self-portraits are found in contemporary video works by artists such as Robert Morris, Hannah Wilke, Joan Jonas, Bruce Nau- man and Dan Graham, to name but a few of the most important.
In 2003–2004, the exhibition Unrepentant Ego: The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the exhibition “Lucas Samaras” at the National Museum in Athens in 2005. In 2009 a solo exhibition with Samaras’ art was shown at the 53rd Venice Biennale.
Samaras’ works have been purchased by major institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.