“PARAXENA” brings together three recent series of photographic and video works produced between 2005 and 2009, juxtaposed with a discrete group of sculptural works from the mid 1960s. ‘PARAXENA’ sets up a conversation across four decades of Lucas Samaras’ practice, establishing a historical context for the recent departures in his work.
Upon entering the pavilion the viewer will be confronted by an image of themselves, reflected in the mirrored sculpture ‘Doorway’ (1966-2007): a scenario that initiates a narrative that runs throughout ‘PARAXENA’, where the act of being observed and the activity of observing are central concerns. Samaras will debut new photographic works from the ‘Nexus’ series alongside images from the recent ‘Chairs’ series (2008) and the ‘iMovie’ video works (2005.) The ‘Chairs’ and ‘Nexus’ series originate in digital images taken during the artist’s walks through New York City. Seen together the images suggest a kind-of hallucinatory urbanism. The ‘iMovie’ films take this sense of ‘strangeness’ into the artist’s domestic space, recording Samaras’ everyday habits and routines. These recent works will be shown alongside the video installation ‘Ecdysiast and Viewers’ (2006), in which Samaras filmed the reactions of twenty four friends and colleagues (including artists Chuck Close and Jasper Johns) whilst they watched a video self-portrait in which Samaras lays himself bare for the camera. The frank self-portrayal in ‘Ecdysiast’ is echoed in a group of sculptures from the ‘Jewels’ series of the mid 1960s: fragile jewel-encrusted aluminum foil sculptures which represent three extremities of the artist’s body: the head, the groin, and the feet, creating a form of ‘incomplete’ self-portraiture”.