Sam Taylor-wood

Filmmaker, Photographer, Visual artist – British


sam taylor wood

1967 born in London, United Kingdom.

Samantha "Sam" Taylor-Johnson, (born Samantha Taylor), known professionally as Sam Taylor-Wood, is an English filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. She is one of a group of artists known as the Young British Artists.

At the age of sixteen, she enrolled in an art school in Hastings, later moving back to London to attend Goldsmiths College. After graduating in 1990, she worked as a dresser at the Royal Opera House; this experience would influence her work's unabashed theatricality. Originally a sculptor, she began working in photography, film, and video in the early 1990s.

One collaboration with Henry Bond, titled 26 October 1993, featured Bond and Taylor-Wood reprising the roles of Yoko Ono and John Lennon in a pastiche of the photo-portrait made—by photographer Annie Leibovitz—a few hours before Lennon was assassinated, in 1980.

Her first film, 16mm (1993), consists of an isolated female figure gyrating to a steady beat. She explored similar intersections between video, dance, theater, music and film and video in subsequent works, including Killing Time (1994), in which seemingly bored actors wait their turn to lip-synch the lines of different characters from Richard Strauss's Electra. Her photographic work also finds points of intersection with other mediums. The title of Five Revolutionary Seconds (1995–98), for example, refers to her creation of a panoramic image by rotating her camera around a room over that period of time; the resulting image has a narrative quality despite being a static image. In recent years, Sam Taylor-Wood has engaged ideas of celebrity culture in her work. Third Party (1999–2000), a seven-screen video installation at the Hayward Gallery in London, featured pop singer Marianne Faithful and actor Ray Winstone in different one- and two-person scenes of flirtation and ennui, suggesting a party taking place throughout the gallery. Equal parts pathos and humor, the two-minute film Pietà (2001), in which the artist attempts to suspend the Hollywood actor and hard-living icon Robert Downey, Jr. in her arms, also evokes art history.

In 2000, Sam Taylor-Wood created a wraparound, photomural around scaffolding of the London department store Selfridges while it was being restored; the mural featured 21 cultural icons including Elton John, musician Alex James and actors Richard E. Grant and Ray Winstone. The poses of the figures referenced famous works of art from the past and recent movies. In 2002, Taylor-Wood was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to make a video portrait of David Beckham - whom she depicted sleeping.
She is perhaps best known for her work entitled Crying Men which features many of Hollywood's glitterati crying, including Robin Williams, Sean Penn, Laurence Fishburne and Paul Newman.

In 2008, Taylor-Wood directed a short film Love You More, written by Patrick Marber and produced by Anthony Minghella. In February 2009, Sam Taylor-Wood, collaborating with Sky Arts chose to interpret Vesti la Giubba from Pagliacci. She commented: "I’m really happy to be involved in such a great project. I think by capturing one of opera's most moving moments in a film short, we have put a modern spin on the aria." In 2011, she directed the music video of "Überlin" by R.E.M.

Her directorial feature film debut came in 2009 with Nowhere Boy, a film based on the childhood experiences of the Beatles songwriter and singer John Lennon.

Since her first show, Killing Time at the Showroom in London in 1994, Sam Taylor-Wood has had solo exhibitions at White Cube in London (1995 and 2001), Kunsthalle Zürich (1997), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (1999), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (2000), Centre National de la Photographie in Paris (2001), and Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal (2002). In 2002, the Hayward Gallery in London held a mini-retrospective of her work. Her work has appeared in Information Dienst at Kunsthalle Stuttgart (1993), Brilliant! New Art From London at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1995), Istanbul Biennial (1997), Johannesburg Biennale (1997), ICA Biennial of Independent Film and Video at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (1997), Venice Biennale (1997), Carnegie International (1999), and Valencia Biennial (2001). Her film Expanding Pictures (1997) was broadcast on BBC2 in 1997.
Also in 1997, she received the Illy Café Prize for Most Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale. In 1998  Sam Taylor Wood was nominated for the annual Turner Prize, but lost out to the painter Chris Ofili.
She lives and works in London.