For his first Solo Exhibition at the gallery, Sam Winston will present two projects (Drawing on Memory and Modern Gods) based on memory and the passage of time – both using language as their departure point but in distinctly different ways.
Drawing on Memory is based on a series of real world conversations between the artist and four subjects who have had a unique experience of time. Using only first names, each interview candidly reveals their relationship to the past.
Tam's is a dialogue that focuses on his 15 years spent inside various maximum-security prisons in the United Kingdom. Lama's conversation is based on his 7 years spent in a solitary meditation in a cave in India. Steve's conversation explores the effect that dementia has had on him; and Tom’s conversation covers 13 years of touring from country to country with an international rock band.
Each dialogue asks seemingly simple questions concerning their experience of time - yet through their answers it becomes clear how hard it is to gain any certainty on this seemingly certain subject. And it is these questions that form the backbone of the artworks that inhabit the exhibition space. Winston transcribes these texts through carbon paper - adding his own marks to the process - - creating large scale drawings in the space.
The Modern Gods project also looks at memory but from a very different perspective. Working with the acclaimed author Hari Kunzru and the Victorian & Albert Museum, Winston created a set of three typographic works reacting to Kunzrus text.
Hari Kunzrus dystopian Novella 'Memory Palace' was the second departure point for this exhibition on memory.
Combined - four real world interviews on time and Kunzrus fiction on memory, Drawing on Memory becomes an exhibition that sits intriguingly between real world stories and an author’s fiction. It also becomes an exploration of these texts, breaking them down into new visual languages.
“Sam Winston creates sculpture, drawings and books that question our understanding of words both as carriers of messages, and as information itself. His work combines a playful and meticulous assimilation of contemporary information – statistics, data, computer programming – with canonical works such as Shakespeare and the dictionary. He is interested in childhood and story-telling and draws us into the underlying subtexts that often exist beneath what might initially appear as ‘pure’ texts. His work draws upon many approaches and forms, often applying meticulous layers of found text which are reordered through indexical categories. Through drawing, cutting, folding and typography, complex ideas emerge in new work that seems clear, logical and completely necessary amidst the saturation of financial and media text that is around us and often impossible to process.” - Chris McCabe
In Winston’s own words: "Once the word is on the page it cannot be anything but a visual thing. That is a strong theme in my practice – to blur the line between what we call the image and the printed/written word. Similar in a way to how we hear - the spoken word easily being reduced to a noise."
Sam Winston started writing stories and selling artist books through London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and can now be found in many special collections in the UK and the US, including – MoMA New York, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, the Tate Galleries London, and Victoria & Albert Museum. He has exhibited internationally with the most work on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum London.
He lives and works in London.