Sam Taylor-Johnson: Biological Time and decay

Originally a sculptor, Sam Taylor-Johnson began working in photography, film, and video in the early 1990s. The split between being and appearance in situations where the line between interior and external sense of self is in conflict – has always been in the centre of her creative work.
– from: samtaylorjohnson.com

Still Life, 2001 35mm film Single screen projection The classical still life is updated in this exquisite, simple meditation on mortality and beauty. The addition of a supermarket peach and a Bic pen prompts questions about modern attempts at immortality.

A Little Death, 2002
35mm film
Single screen projection
In Taylor-Johnson’s words, ‘It was interesting in one way to take the idea (of Still Life) one step further by bringing in an animal, and also, that animal specifically, the hare in history, is the symbol of life and virility as well. So it was sort of about looking at that and having the stillness of looking at that. I guess I didn’t quite know what to expect when I was filming it, and then when I put it in front of me as it were, so many things were surprising to me. One of the things I loved about it was how different it was from Still Life, but also made it come alive again. The deathly heavy scenario came to life again, and then it evolved into a sort of slasher horror film version of Still Life. A Little Death was more violent. Still Life conveyed a grace in the decay but with A Little Death it was not only violent, but shockingly violent. The feeling of the transformation of life into death repeating itself over and over is so frightful, and after those two works I sort of left the topic alone. I felt like I had achieved what I set out to convey.’

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