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Chuck Samuel - Becoming Photography - 2015-2020
February 27 to April 25, 2021

A two-part exhibition presented in conjunction with Plein sud, centre d’exposition en art actuel à Longueuil, from March 13 to April 24, 2021.

Since the start of his career, Chuck Samuels has questioned how photography works and how the most emblematic images in the history of photography are articulated. In the early 1990s, Samuels explored this idea by appropriating classic images from the history of photography and cinema. While selecting cult works from various archives, the artist jokingly confessed that he instead became captivated by his own image. He thus began to photograph and film himself, and inserting his face in lieu of the main protagonist’s visage in each image or clip. The results are remarkable. Over time, by turning the camera on himself, “these intrusions” became the common element of his practice. With these self-portraits, Samuels insinuates himself into the history of photography, even into the photograph itself. Consciously flirting with the absurd, Samuels’ practice involves “becoming photography,” like a falsely narcissistic adventure, like a combination of the photographer and the photographic, resulting in a singular approach that is executed with subtlety, erudition, and humour.

The works featured at EXPRESSION are part of a two-part exhibition presented conjointly with Plein sud, centre d’art actuel à Longueuil, covering three decades of the artist’s career (1990-2020). EXPRESSION presents the artist’s most recent bodies of work, produced since 2015. These include The Photographer (2015), in which Samuels reflects on his own place within the history of the photographic self-portrait. In After (2020), he creates remakes that revisit the art of appropriation, while On Photography (2020) examines the role of the critic and their authority within the art world. And finally, The Complete Photographer (2020) explores the role of the photography magazine.

Artist’s acknowledgements
The Photographer and On Photography were supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. The Photographer was produced during a creative residency at the Centre de production DAÏMÕN. On Photography, After, and The Complete Photographer were produced during a residency at L’imprimerie, centre d’artistes. After Gordon, part of the After series, was produced with support from OBORO’s Production Assistance Program. The artist would like to thank each of these organizations for their support.

Chuck Samuels Devenir la photographie / Becoming Photography 2015-2020