Sam Durant (born in Seattle in 1961, lives und works in Berlin and Los Angeles) looks into a large number of social, political and cultural topics. The majority of his artworks consists of installations, sculptures and plastic elements. He grew up in the Boston area in the 1960s and 70s and experienced the anti-war demonstrations, oppositional movements like the Black Panthers, the removal of segregation in the school system and the racial discrimination still prevalent today. These insights have shaped his personal perspectives as an artist, so that, in his works today, he investigates structures of inequality as well as how to resist them. He is interested in monuments and memorials of the colonial past and how the narratives of this history project themselves into the present.
As an artist, he here gains access to his topics mainly via language. In this vein, he, for example, exhibited his work, LIKE MAN, I'M TIRED OF WAITING, a lightbox bearing this particular sentence as text, in the Kunstverein. It derives originally from a poster carried in 1963 on a march in Washington DC, when Martin Luther King held his famous speech, “I have a dream”. In connection with this work, Sam Durant has produced 7 further text-works as an edition for the Kunstverein. These are stencils, cut out with scissors, of slogans painted on the signs in protest marches. They derive, for example, from contexts of anti-racist movements in the USA, the “Monday Demonstrations” in the former GDR, the #MeToo debate or the struggles of the Enlightenment in 17th century England. As the sentences are cited time and again and reproduced with reference to new movements and protests, they become charged with a multi-layered political significance. The possibility of replicating the texts via the stencils means the slogans can be applied to an endless number of different contexts.
- Political Affairs - Language Is Not Innocent, Kunstverein in Hamburg (G)
Sam Durant: Iconoclasm, Library Street Collective, Detroit (S)
- Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama (G)
More than 1/2 the World, Sadie Coles HQ, London (S)
- The Natural Order of Things, Museo jumex, Mexico City (G)
- America is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (G)
- Sam Durant: La stessa storia (The same history), Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (MACRO), Rom (S)
- dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (G)