Sam Taylor-Johnson OBE

Wanderer Above the Sea of Dreams


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Not on display

Sam Taylor-Johnson OBE born 1967
Screenprint on paper
Image: 760 × 700 mm
Presented by Carl Freedman Gallery / Counter Editions, London 2016


This work is from a portfolio of eight prints by British artists commissioned by Counter Editions, London to celebrate the participation of Team GB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Since 1912, prints and posters have been commissioned by host cities and participating nations for each of the Games, creating celebratory and inspiring meetings of art and sport. The prints in this portfolio have been produced by different printing presses and in differing edition sizes and are by: Tracey Emin (True Love Always Wins 2016 [Tate P14444]; Anne Hardy (Reflection 2016 [Tate P14446]; Howard Hodgkin (The Road to Rio 2016 [Tate P14450]; Sarah Jones (Cabinet [Spiral]) 2016 [Tate P14447]); Eddie Peake (Sweat 2016 [Tate P14448]); Benjamin Senior (Stroke Tempo 2016 [Tate P14445]); David Shrigley (Life is Fantastic 2016 [Tate P14451]); and Sam Taylor-Johnson (Wanderer Above the Sea of Dreams 2016 [Tate P14449]). Also is Tate’s collection is a portfolio of prints produced to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012 (see Tate P14444P14451).

Wanderer Above the Sea of Dreams draws on the classic motif of Taylor-Johnson’s earlier Self Portrait Suspended series of 2004, in which the artist had herself photographed in a range of poses hanging from the ceiling of her studio in what she described as moments of absolute release and freedom. Suspended by ropes, she erased these in the final images so that her form appears to float, poised between heaven and earth, life and death, in an exploration of weight and gravity. In this print the studio has been replaced by a surreal, dream-like desert. Taylor-Johnson shot the craggy desert background on location in the United States, giving an American twist to Rio’s iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. The work marks her first foray into photo-collage, combining amongst other things a Volkswagen Beetle and some ripe bananas. In a playful nod to the buoyant energy of the 2016 Olympic host country, the helium balloons that appear to suspend the floating form of the artist bear the design of the Brazilian flag.

Laura Smith
August 2016

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