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Sam Taylor-Wood: Artist’s Talk

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.