This first monograph on Sam Taylor-Johnson (formerly Taylor-Wood) was published to coincide with a major retrospective of her work at the Hayward Gallery in London, where she was the first artist of her generation to have been given a solo exhibition. Works include highly choreographed photographic and filmic scenes in which Taylor-Johnson examines emotional isolation, inner realities, and a range of states of being, from self-absorption and anguish to tense confrontation. In the panoramic Five Revolutionary Seconds series, a rotating camera turns nearly 360 degrees in five seconds, recording the motions and gestures of six actors and non-actors, each of whom appears lost in his or her own reality. Questions of emotional reality, of who is acting and who is not, were also raised in the 1994 film Method in Madness, which captured a young man apparently in the throes of a nervous breakdown. In fact, he was a method actor playing a role that seemed painfully real. Taylor-Johnson’s work here centered on the creation of enigmatic situations replete with a latent but explosive energy, drawing freely on a variety of sources from Renaissance painting to Hollywood cinema and utilising film, video and photography.
Essays by Michael Bracewell and Jeremy Millar.
Steidl/Hayward Gallery, 2002