Samara Scott - Discordia
Samara Scott creates haunting installations with used items and materials, emphasising their histories, nostalgias and anxieties. For her first Dutch solo exhibition at KM21, Scott is inspired by the aesthetics and implications of transit and haulage.
Samara Scott is known for immersive installations that explore the fusion between the manmade and the natural in today’s consumer culture. Besides the visual and material qualities of consumer products, Scott is interested in the seams and verges between things: the real and imaginary lines we draw on the soil or around objects, defining ownership and possession.
Scott’s unnerving surfaces operate at many scales. Whether it’s sculpture, clothing or architecture – all areas that Scott feels connected to – there is always an interest in skin. Scott considers skin as a site that can be cut and burnt by objects or changed and tanned by light. It is a two-way surface, affected by an interior and exterior space. Like the skim or skin of water surface it has currents underneath and winds on top.
The architecture of a space forms the starting point of her intensive working method. In recent years, Scott has built ceilings, containers and windows in existing spaces, filling them with vast tidal surfaces of liquidity that she created from foraged trash and supermarket gloss and dross. For her first Dutch solo exhibition at KM21, Scott continues her interest in transforming industrial materials into soft, bodily landscapes – in this case working with haulage canvas for the first time.
For the past three years, Scott has been living in a house right in front of Dover port. Day and night she can hear the travel announcements and see travellers and goods arriving and departing. She is fascinated by this proximity to transit; the delay and desire, the echo and reverb, the blue police lights, the border force, the dirt that comes from the rubber of truck wheels. From this point of immersion, inspired by the complicit paradox of beauty and violence in a border, her installation at KM21 has emerged. Here, the heavy-duty PVC canvas becomes a tender tissue, soiled and marked by brutal motion.
As often in Scott’s work, there is an echo of photography and painting in the final result. The artist explains: ‘This haulage material to me is like long exposure images, risen from the red and dark. I am intrigued by these layers of markings, like forensic bruises from the road, showing remarkably delicate traces of experience, both touched and untouched. They seem almost unhuman, painted by fumes and thick air, the dirt, the soil and minerals, the tarmac and the landscapes they moved through.’
Like the marked material, the title Discordia has been ‘lifted’ from a large Balklands haulier company brand. This huge emblazoned and eerie word (red letters on yellow) passes thousands of miles through Europe and the port of Dover every day. Scott felt intrigued by this odd verbal image, continuously floating around in her periphery. Related to the Greek goddess of strife, and connected to religious ideas that centre on the importance of chaos, Discordia strikes Scott as a remarkable name for a capitalist brand.
Discordia is inspired by the aesthetics and implications of transit and haulage; from the abject appeal of discarded tarpaulin (marks, smears, bruises, stains, penetrations) to the dark associations it evokes. In a site-specific installation that seems both industrial and tender, Scott transforms the gallery into an indefinite space. With scaffolding and used truck tarpaulins, gathered in England and North Brabant, she creates an environment that is somewhere between inside and outside, oppression and light.
About the artist
Samara Scott (b. 1985, United Kingdom) lives and works in Dover. She studied at Camberwell College of Art and Royal College of Art in London. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Tramway in Glasgow, The Sunday Painter in London and CAPC Museum in Bordeaux, among others. Her work has also been shown in the New Museum Triennial 2021 in New York and the landmark exhibition Mixing it Up: Painting Today at Hayward Gallery, London in 2021. Scott launched clothing label sosskyn in 2018.