Images and simulacrum populate our existence in late-capitalism, but what effect does this have on our subjective experience? This exhibition aims to theorise subjectivity as contingent in its relationship with the body. In contemporary culture, we are compelled to identify a body and thus a self with what we perceive ourselves to be. Likewise, when viewing images of bodies, we project our subjectivity onto the represented form to reinforce our sense of a unified self. Yet, through a process of dissolution and abstraction of the figure, the identification of self and body through the image can be disturbed. By representing the body and therefore the self in a contradictory state, apparently lacking its normal corporeal boundaries, a sense of anxiety can be produced within the viewer. The experience of viewing an artwork that attends to this aim is therefore psychologically charged, allowing the viewer re-awareness of the relationship between their own body and self.
The works converse with the history of representation as a way to duplicate bodily presence. The artworks are informed by the chiaroscuro techniques of the Old Masters that aimed to inspire a visceral sense of veneration and awe. Yet unlike their ideal of a divinely inspired, biographically coherent subject, Sam King subverts this agenda, fragmenting and abjecting the body. The result is a work that is always transitional, shaped by indeterminacy. The eternity conveyed by the Old Masters is contrasted with constant reiterations of the body under a modern temporality. This duality of form and self undermines the categories of sacred and profane in the work. King’s work does not intend to resolve the relationship between the object and subject, but rather to query into the fluidity and ambiguity of the self and the body. In this way, this exhibition aims to create a space in which normative notions of identity can be confronted in order to encourage self-reflexivity.