Sam Anderson at Tanya Leighton / Berlin


26 November 2015 - 16 January 2016 

Tanya Leighton
Kurfürstenstraße 156 & 24/25
10785 Berlin 

Tanya Leighton is pleased to announce Endless Love, the first solo exhibition at the
gallery by American artist Sam Anderson.

Anderson’s multidisciplinary practice focuses on the peripheral, the bit-part actors
of life that arrive to bring about plot development and then slink off to the fringe.
These figures are studied and organized, but never defined by Anderson, who asks her
viewers to regard their personalities as carefully as they would themselves. Arranged 
into grid-like patterns that call to mind urban planning, public smoking areas,
playgrounds, and other spaces that have been imagined and built for human interaction,
Anderson’s sculptures are subject to the impulse of an architect they have never met.

Though the filmic is an underlying theme in much of Anderson’s sculptural work, the
artist has not, until now, exhibited her videos in three years. Endless Love includes
a looping excerpt of a new video of the same title, which follows the artist’s mother
to New Zealand, where she was filming a horror movie, and West Virginia, where she had
a log cabin built on land inherited from her mother and father. These scenes of
ostensible documentary are interrupted by clips from a 1979 Western that Anderson’s
mother starred in, as well as stock footage. Throughout the video, Anderson’s mother
reads a monologue of musings compiled by the artist, which include conversations with
taxi drivers, as well as fragments from the play A Long Day’s Journey Into Night by
Eugene O’Neill – chosen almost at random as an example of 20th century writing that
confuses familiar emotional colloquialisms with deep meaning. Our over-exposure to
canned language, like the dialogue taken from O’Neill’s play, colours the way we are
able to synthesize and vocalize emotion, making it increasingly easy to act out pat,
scripted replies in moments of pain or existential suffering.

The artist’s mother also appears in the form of a clay sculpture holding a gong, 
modelled after a portrait drawn when she was in her early thirties. She is joined by
taxis, tractors, and the ancillary actors who contextualize her: a farmer, an actress,
a musician, a pregnant kiwi bird, a taxi driver, and a stalker.

Much of Endless Love seems to question the idea of objects holding transcendent power.
Swept up bits of broken glass, orange peels, paper, and wood lie in the center of
roughly cut pieces of sheepskin and leather. They could be unwrapped gifts still
sitting in their wrapping or opened greeting cards with a dirty dollar bill inside.
Presents as emblems of love or emotionality come under scrutiny - Anderson interrupts
the video Endless Love with a short clip made by her partner, who gave it to her as a 
gift in 2013. Her own gift is also on view: a pair of moulded in-ear monitors, fit
specifically to her partner’s ear canals, which are printed with nubile bathing
beauties. They play their own insular soundtrack. 

Anderson’s interests and themes are as far reaching as they are intimate. Her artworks
engage through their familiarity, but reveal far more when they ask us to think how
they came to be familiar. Where narratives break and slip, there is space for selfquestioning,
reformatting viewpoints of desire, role-playing, and examination of the material world both 
man-made and organic. Anderson’s work cultivates a cinematic positioning of the mind that 
switches in and out of multiple genres of comprehension.