Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chuck Samuels at Daziboa in Montreal

Since 1980, Chuck Samuels has been using the history of photography and cinema to explore philosophical questions concerning memory and the construction of the self in a body of work shaded with irony. His work, which has been seen widely in Canada and abroad, can be found in collections such as that of the Maison européenne de la photographie in Paris, the Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi.

With Before Photography, Dazibao’s series of events and exhibitions based on the recovery and appropriation of images comes to a close. Chuck Samuels, in a vast deconstruction and re-organisation project, explores his personal history by means of a powerful critical and aesthetic strategy: fiction.

This task, which is much more than a stylistic exercise, derives from Samuels’ enquiry into the nature of the bond that tied him to his father. In Chuck Goes to the Movies, 108 photographs form the basis of an exuberant analysis of photographic representation in popular cinema and television from their early days until 1967, the year Samuels was introduced to photography by his father. Here Samuels, a kind of Zelig of the camera lens, offers up a delirious repertoire of possibilities, hypotheses and characters. Chuck’s Home Movies takes a similar tack, creating free associations between clips from a number of films with iconic depictions of photographers.

In the other two sections of the exhibition, Last Words on Photography and Chuck’s Family Photos, Samuels speaks directly of his memories of his father to paint an emblematic, perhaps even mythical, portrait of the “man with a camera”, thereby highlighting and interrogating an entire field of recent cultural history which has suddenly become accessible and even popular, one marked by the desire of individuals to see themselves depicted in it.

Above content from Daziboa Centre de Photographies Actuelles

in Belgium and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, as well as in numerous private collections. He lives in Montreal.

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