Artist biography

English photographer, film and video artist. On graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1990, Taylor-Wood worked predominantly as a photographer, often showing herself in sexually confrontational and challenging roles. In 1994 she made her first film, Killing Time (video projection with soundtrack, artist's priv. col.; see 1997 exh. cat., pp. 194–201), in which four separate screens show ordinary people miming the libretto to Elektra. Their fidgeting, self-awareness and boredom when not singing becomes central to the work, suggesting affinities with contemporary ‘slacker' culture. The themes of isolated subjects, self-conscious exhibitionism and anxiety were explored in subsequent films. In 1995 she made the first of what was to become an extended series of colour photographs, Five Revolutionary Seconds I (Minneapolis, Walker A. Cent.): using a rotating camera to create long panoramic views of interiors, peopled by subjects involved in a variety of isolated activities, Taylor-Wood creates a feeling of bored and narcissistic affluence. The merging of a cinematic sensibility with high-art photography displayed here became increasingly important in her work throughout the 1990s. Atlantic (1997; artist's priv. col.; see 1997 exh. cat., pp. 258–64) consists of three wall-sized projections showing views of a couple interacting emotively in a restaurant. Here Taylor-Wood dwells on the difficulties of communication both in the private sphere, represented dramatically, and the public sphere of artist and audience. She was awarded the Illy Café Prize for Most Promising Young Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale, and in 1998 was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

F. Bonami: ‘Sam Taylor-Wood: Brainspotting', Flash A., xxx/193 (March–April 1997), pp. 96–100
Sam Taylor-Wood (exh. cat., Milan, Fond. Prada, 1997)
Turner Prize 1998 (exh. cat., by V. Button, London, Tate 1998)

10 December 2000

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