Genet’s The Balcony is set in a house of illusions (a euphemism for an upmarket brothel that in its chintzy, garbled
formality and what in other quarters is considered anachronistic presumption of the subject as defined by lack in terms of a 19th Century idea of Man, resulting in a particular kind of blasé psychosexual nihilism mingled with tension
between an admirable will to proceed and will to disappear in the face of the arbitrary forms of disintegration one
faces at the random point in history in which they are incarnated, The Death of God, a fart in church in the halls of time that creates the appearance of a lifetime of human-scale longing and torment which is perhaps a fleeting twinge in the eyeball of consciousness or actually something quite pleasant, so unique and so the same in a way which
registers to me as particularly French) that continues its operations while a violent revolution takes place in the
fictional city in which it is located.
Sam Anderson’s sculptures look out from the Gaylord penthouse’s windows onto a glorious view of Los Angeles, the most famous fictional city in America, formally the World. The group of assemblage works resemble balcony-type forms in a variety of scales. The variation is not only determined by fancy, but by Sam’s recent back injury (a severely herniated disk) which has forced her to work lying down for the past 18 weeks, in repose on a therapeutic chaise lounge. While ambling about the best she can, every decision to reposition or move is dealt with a much more immediate penalty than the usual unknown reverberations that torture and haunt all of our decisions…at least mine. This temporary physical limitation has dovetailed with Sam’s increasing proficiency in translating the particular touch and sensitivity of how she forms her sculptures. Sam’s practice has proceeded through time, accumulation, experience, discovery and has integrated them. There is now the possibility of relatively instantaneous manifestation, a power wielded prematurely by many artists who have not undergone the proper initiations formed over hundreds of centuries, but one which I am very happy Sam has introduced into her repertoire.
Though the work’s scale in relation to human scale at first glance may look like it’s speaking the language of a model or a tableaux, like a mise-en-scène meant to suggest a human-scale environment too freakish or expensive or troublesome to create, or perhaps instead a predilection for the shrunken and small that emanates from the artist’s preferences, the pieces instead function as a restrained version of assemblage. This means they bear the responsibility of how the objects that constitute any given piece exist in the world instead of hiding in prescribed analogy. The pieces are vectorized, lossless at any magnification, but they resolve as material outside of analogy as well. The material sits in a room and produces its own resonance and forms more into portraits than representations of space.
Sam reminds me of Artschwager, particularly how he balances Minimalism with the trans-temporal kind of art that exists somewhere between what we understand as Pop and Surrealism (like Hans Bellmer or Robert Gober.) Not chic,
pared-down manifestations of emotions or the psyche, but a dialogue between Minimalism, the understanding of
metaphor and analogy being subordinate to the Earth-derived material that constitutes the work itself. It usually manifests in varying intensities of searing restraint, and an exploration of how the psyche and emotions speak through objects that are familiar or mass-produced.
Text by Robert Bittenbender