Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present its eighth solo exhibition by US-American artist Sam Falls.
“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”
― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Imagine the history of art as an ocean, and for the skin of the ocean, with all its surface tension, we have, according to Aristotle, “art as imitation of nature”. The dynamic, ever-growing world of art swims unquestioningly under this simple definition. We’ve explored these waters long and deep, but we’ve never really broken through the surface. Even if “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”, as Oscar Wild said, we’re still trapped in a classic framework of mimesis, like harmless fish taking on the bright colors and shapes of poisonous plants and predators (technically known in biology as ‘aggressive mimicry’). As we’ve hurtled through the last few centuries with relatively little regard for the environment, one can imagine a time coming when nature all but disappears, and all we’re left with are our imitations of nature – a shallow puddle of landscapes – from which we must draw from to recreate a bio-synthetic future nature that imitates art. This would be a future based on taste rather than true objective beauty – which only exists in raw nature – and so we must not only strive to preserve the environment we have left, but work to make art that breaks through the surface of imitation to become part of nature itself.
To evolve as an artist and break through this threshold, I’ve consistently pushed to explore the open atmosphere and work symbiotically with the environment, to merge the act and outcome of art with those of nature and time, rather than illustrating it. To achieve this, I’ve persistently relinquished my presence to make room for the hand of nature itself to be present in the process and the very aesthetics of the artwork. Artists have always sought a certain purity – Abstract Expressionism, for example – but this has always been through the lens of art as an individual, human endeavor. But what about the time before civilization, and perhaps after? I would like to believe that art has always been there and will outlive us, in its truest form. The true artistic impulse is not simply aesthetics, but the universal depth of mortality and the emotional extremes it contains: birth and death, joy and pain, color and darkness, sun and rain, day and night, spring and fall – all of these are most evident in nature and form the heartbeat of the works composing this exhibition. The best description of this I’ve encountered was by Cormac McCarthy towards the end of All The Pretty Horses,
Recent solo exhibitions by Sam Falls include MOCA Cleveland, OH, US (2023); Mori Museum in Tokyo, JP (2022); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, US (2018); Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Trento and Rovereto, IT (2018); The Kitchen, New York, NY, US (2015); Ballroom Marfa, Texas, TX, US (2015); Pomona College Museum of Art, CA, US (2014); Public Art Fund, New York, NY, US (2014); and LAXART, Los Angeles, CA, US (2013), among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Biennale Weiertal, Winterthur, CH (2023); Fondation Opale, Lens, CH (2020); Art Basel Unlimited, Basel, CH (2019); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, CO, US (2018); Le Consortium, Dijon, FR (2017); Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, OH, US (2017); Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, UK (2016); Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, SC (2015); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, US (2015); Menil Collection, Houston, TX, US (2015); Museo MADRE, Naples, FL, US (2014); and the International Center of Photography, New York, NY, US (2013); among others.