Rodolphe Janssen is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Europe of Sam Samore’s new series of photographs entitled Scenarios - continuing his exploration of cinema and painting. All the black and white gelatin silver prints are the same size – 125 x 215 cm, an aspect ratio referencing widescreen films. The large film grain created for these images makes for fields of abstraction evoking an expressionist sensuality of the picture-plane. Slow-motion effects are evoked through the illusion of focus shifting and motion-blur, giving all of them an emotionally charged, uncanny and dream-like atmosphere.
In Scenarios, Samore stages and directs the actors as anti-heroes/heroines within fictional episodes suggesting such genres as film noir, spy thriller, urban western, contemporary tragedy – while referencing the painting of Caravaggio and Manet. Close-ups of the faces suggest psychological isolation. A feeling of spatial dislocation derives from unusual vantage points – there are times when the figure appears to be laying down or floating/hovering. In addition to concentrating on each individual as a character in a drama, Samore continues with his trope of the extreme close-up – images of an eye and lips. The exhibition as a whole can be viewed as a collection of jump-cuts, the story remaining incomplete and unfinished.
In addition to the group of pictures, Samore will introduce his most recent film A Melancholy Encyclopedia, 2008. In this work of thirty minutes in length, four dreams unfold by way of non-linear narrative, invoking love, death, debauchery, anomie – the stuff of fairy tales. This short feature film began as a component of an installation Samore created for the Istanbul Biennale 2007, but has since been re-edited for single channel presentation. While Samore has been making films since the 1970s, A Melancholy Encyclopedia marks a new departure point – suggesting the atmosphere of his large photographs and conjuring another way of storytelling, something additional to his literary works, such as Sumptuous Fire of the Stars (1997) or Tangled Web of Erotic Savage Cunning (1994).