Chuck Samuels, Becoming Photography — Sylvain Campeau

[Fall 2021]

Expression, centre d’exposition de Saint­-Hyacinthe
27.02.2021 — 25.04.2021

Plein sud, centre d’exposition en art actuel à Longueuil
13.03.2021 — 24.04.2021

By Sylvain Campeau

A project deployed in two venues and one monograph, Becoming Photography brings together corpuses produced between 1991 and 2020. At Plein sud are series that have been exhibited before, among the least recent of all the works on display. They therefore hold no surprises, but it’s interesting to take a look at them, as they make it easier to understand Chuck Samuels’s position. Furthermore, we can see the extent to which this photographic mise en abyme, performed in concert with the device of the self-portrait, has evolved over time, for the images at Plein sud were produced, one could say, in another paradigm. It was the era when Cindy Sherman had just shaken us out of our complacency by showing reconstructions of well-known images from film and photography that highlighted the stereo- typed nature of female presences in the media. Sherman led us to wonder about the originality of the artwork when that artwork – a photograph in this case – could be duplicated infinitely and with impunity.

As Samuels built his series and developed his approach, he chose to venture elsewhere. Drawing on references from related media – television and movies – from his childhood, he began to compose a sort of anthology of images of photographers, of the figure of the photographer. As times changed, he gradually drew away from questions about the originality of the artwork. This could happen only within the universe of infinite resonances and perpetual references existing in the empire of the web and its many and various acolytes known as social media. The world in which we now live involves unending ramifications, as images respond to images and erase the initial referent from which every photograph comes…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY