Sam Taylor-Wood

The Passion


September 21 - November 2, 2002
523 W 24 Street
Opening Friday, September 20, 2002


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Sam Taylor-Wood: The Passion, the next exhibition at his gallery at 523 West 24th Street.

This is Taylor-Wood's second solo exhibition in New York. The exhibition will consist of two new films and a group of photographs executed over the past two years.

This exhibition marks the U.S. debut of Taylor-Wood's two silent films Breach and Pietà. Breach focuses on a young woman's highly emotional response to an unknown stimulus. Seated on the floor in an otherwise empty space, the woman grows more upset over the course of the film, while the film's marked silence invites the viewer to question the reason for her tears: is she truly by herself, as she appears, alone with troublesome thoughts or memories; or is she being berated by someone outside the camera's frame? Taylor-Wood conceived of Pietà after visiting Michelangelo's sculpture at St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. In Pietà, Taylor-Wood, seated in silence on a broad stone staircase, holds an immobile, shirtless Robert Downey, Jr. in her arms, struggling against the weight of his inert body.

Among the photographs being seen for the first time is Sleep (2002), a life-size image of a male nude lying face-up and eyes-closed on a white bed, inspired by Holbein's painting The Dead Body of Christ in the Tomb.

The exhibition also introduces Taylor-Wood's series, The Passion Cycle (2002), consisting of over twenty new photographs which, in contrast to Taylor-Wood's normally oversized images, measure only 4 x 5 inches each. Inspired by Shunga prints, erotic Japanese woodcuts dating from the Edo Period (1603-1867), The Passion Cycle is Taylor-Wood's answer to this particular aesthetic tradition. She hired a young man and woman in a long-term relationship and photographed the couple making love in an ornately appointed bedroom. The artist has produced these images as transparencies and illuminated them from behind.

Born in London in 1967, Sam Taylor-Wood first exhibited her work in 1991. This year, she has had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Hayward Gallery in London, the latter show accompanied by a 256-page monograph, published by Steidl Press. Next month, an exhibition of her work will open at the Musée d'art contemporain in Montreal.

Sam Taylor-Wood: The Passion will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), through November 2nd, 2002. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

For further information or photographs please contact Adrian Rosenfeld at 212-243-0200.

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