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Clare Samuel

Otherwise Than Being


February 13 – March 11, 2012

Vernissage: Thursday, February 16, 5–7 p.m.

Exhibition description

The title of this installation comes from a work by Emanuel Levinas, whose existential philosophy addresses the relationship between the Self and Other, particularly focusing on the face as what calls forth a responsibility for exchange. Otherwise Than Being also refers to the disappearance of the image; a photograph of a man's face gradually disintegrates before us, eventually becoming an empty screen – a lack. The figure's eyes are closed, cutting off communication, and yet they hold our attention by belying the stillness of the image, as though at any moment he could "wake up". The action of the piece is literally one of de-facing, but rather than violence the subject's pose and the beauty of the colours suggest a passive and willing surrender to the process and to the gaze of the viewer.

About the artist

Clare Samuel is a Northern Irish artist now living in Canada. She began her studies in Scotland, completing a BFA with Honors in Photography at Ryerson University, and then an MFA from Concordia. She has exhibited across Canada and Europe, participated in international residencies, and has been recognized by various awards including the Roloff Beny Foundation Fellowship. Her images have been published in magazines such as Blackflash, Next Level and Prefix Photo. In her work she examines the idea of borders; between people, places, or states of being, and how they define where and to whom we belong.

Artist statement

The work was created by submerging a photographic print in water and slowly adding chemicals, causing the three layers of dye-couplers to release from the paper (cyan, magenta and yellow).  Thus a dialogue is created between digital and analogue processes.  The three projections echo the three colour components of the c-print.  The form of the triptych also refers to religious imagery, and the reverence for another superior ‘self’ that icons can create.


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