From next weekend, a big open cube with mirrors on all sides will accept the visitors of the Greek pavilion on the 53rd Biennale in Venice. Due to his contribution to the global culture, Lucas Samaras was the only candidate to represent Greece on the Biennale, which will continue from June 7th until November 22nd. The Minister of Culture Andonis Samaras legally attested the decision.
With his installation Doorway, Samaras will make all visitors look inside themselves but hey will be left surprised when their sight meets a screen, which shows a recording of the naked body of the artist. In the Ecdysiast and Viewers installation, the 73 year old Samaras has recorded 24 of his visual artist friends, while they were watching a recording of how he was taking off his clothes.
The art-striptease is also complemented by another three sculptures, made out of foil in 1965 and jewelries, which reproduce three parts of the body: a head, groin, and feet. These are the “substitutes” of the author’s body, who does not want to provoke or shock anyone.
Lucas Samaras does not hesitate to show how time passes and wears out the body. “What made me uncomfortable in the “Ecdysiast” video was the penis, which is soft and hangs,” admits the curator of the exhibition Mathew Higgs in a text about Lucas Samaras in the catalogue distributed to visitors. “I do not like it, it is an old penis. And every time I think about other people looking at it, I get the shivers in the negative sense of the word. I hope that the other installations around will be magical enough, so that the visitors will forgive me for looking like this.”
Lucas Samaras is famous as an artist of a high level, who likes to experiment – he works with sculpture, painting, graphics, films, installations, and he always manages to keep himself on the top. Whether he participates in happenings with artists like Allan Caprow and Robert Witman or uses his Polaroid to take pictures of his body and face in his studio, he always manages to hint about the excitements in his magical life.
Lucas Samaras was born on September 14th 1936 in Kastoria. When he was 12 years old, he left for the US with his mother, where his father Damianos Samaras had already immigrated to. Initially, they settle down in New Jersey and his first connection with art started in 1955, when together with the American citizenship, he receives a scholarship from the state, in order to study arts in the Rutgers University.