In This Was Tomorrow, Michael Samuels continues to investigate sculptural structures, addressing formal, material and spatial qualities. He continues to utilise Modernist furniture, most commonly G-plan, which he breaks down to a point where it can no longer be identified for its intended use. Once deconstructed, he rebuilds the furniture in a spontaneous manner and through doing so, heightens the tension between the intended function of the objects and their immaterial value.
Samuel’s most ambitious work to date, Tragedy of the Commons, dominates the main gallery space. Slight in width compared to its height, functional elements of a number of the parts are more intelligible. The interior of drawers are used and unpolished, chipboard is visible as opposed to the veneer previously encountered. Functional G-clams and ratchet straps reveal the works construction, angelpoise lamps and LED’s are used to highlight the forms, exaggerate the voids and extend the structure beyond its physical presence.
New works which have never been shown further manifest the adhocism and spontaneity of his practice. Floor standing sculptures convey a sense of performative energy, standing at precarious angles that evoke a feeling that collapse is imminent. New wall based structures have been created that are both abstract and dynamic, paying reference to modernist and abstract painting. The formal lines of these wall hung pieces offers up the opportunity to engage with the work both as a three dimensional experience and as the flat plane of a painting. This push towards abstraction maintains the notion that abstraction is only ever possible in relation to function.
Michael Samuels Tragedy of the Commons installation